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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football impaired by injury bug

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Wildcats downed the Lumberjacks 34-17 Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Wildcats downed the Lumberjacks 34-17 Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.

The Arizona football team is riding high after a 37-32 road win against Oregon State to open up Pacific 10 Conference play, but the squad is licking its collective wounds as well.

And there’s a whole lot of hurting going on in Tucson at the moment. Including tight end Rob Gronkowski — who is out for the season with a back injury — at least eight Arizona starters and two key reserves are banged up.

“”You’re always going to have injuries in football, it doesn’t matter what level it is. It’s part of the deal and you’ve got to work through it,”” said UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. “”The good teams just find a way and somebody else steps up, and they move on and persevere through it.””

The “”somebody else”” Dykes was referring to was third-string running back Greg Nwoko. The redshirt freshman finished the game against Oregon State with 44 yards on nine carries and added 76 yards on four catches. Also catching some of Dykes’ praise was reserve offensive lineman Herman Hall, whom Dykes said “”played as well as any lineman we had last week.””

The likes of Nwoko and Hall will need to keep up their solid play in the coming weeks to keep Arizona on the winning track. Among the ailing Arizona players are wide receivers William “”Bug”” Wright (knee) and Delashaun Dean (thigh), running backs Nic Grigsby (shoulder) and Keola Antolin (ankle), offensive linemen Vaughn Dotsy (concussion) and Mike Diaz (concussion) and defensive lineman Brooks Reed (ankle). Also injured are defensive end Dominique Austin and defensive tackle Donald Horton, although defensive coordinator Mark Stoops wouldn’t give specifics about their injuries.

“”That’s not up to me to comment on those injuries at all,”” Stoops said, adding that there is no timetable in place as to when any of the defensive players will return to full participation with the team.

Thankfully for the Wildcats, the team doesn’t have a game this weekend and will use the down time to rest up before an Oct. 10 contest in Seattle, Wash. against the Huskies. Arizona will need the majority of those players to be healthy enough to suit up against Washington to give the Wildcats the best chance at wrapping up their two-game road trip to the Pacific Northwest with two wins.

“”It’s weird. Injuries kind of come in bunches. Sometimes you don’t have a lot, and it seems like when you have one or two then you get a bunch,”” Dykes said. “”The good thing is that we’ve got an open date. I think we’ll have nearly everybody back by the time we play Washington.””

However, Wright will not be among them. He had arthroscopic surgery on his knee to fix damaged ligaments and will miss two to three weeks, Dykes said. The remaining players should be ready to play on Oct. 10, but even if they aren’t ready, Dykes thinks the Wildcats will still be in good shape.

“”Anytime that you force guys into situations where they have to play and then they go out and play well, it doesn’t do anything but help your program,”” Dykes said. “”I feel really good about the young players we have in our program, and the recruiting that we’ve done, and the player development and that type of thing. I couldn’t be more pleased with a lot of these guys.””

Ross named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week

Arizona football cornerback Devin Ross was named the Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Week for his performance in Arizona’s 37-32 victory over the Oregon State Beavers Saturday.

Ross, a senior, led the Wildcats with 12 tackles, seven of which were solo tackles.

In addition, he ended the Beavers chances to steal the Arizona win with a fourth-quarter interception. With just over a minute and a half left in the game, Ross jumped on and picked-off Beaver quarterback Sean Canfield’s pass after OSU had driven to their own 40-yard line from their 3-yard line on just three plays.

It was Ross’ first player of the week honor and also the first for an Arizona player through four games this season.

— Arizona Daily Wildcat

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