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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcat Cheat Sheet Aug. 29: Injuries may plague Wildcats season early

Game week is finally upon us.

After a month of training camp and practice, Arizona will prep one more week before they begin their regular season Thursday night against UTSA at Arizona Stadium.

Though the season has yet to start, the Wildcats have already faced some challenges with injuries to starters.

During his press conference Friday afternoon, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said linebacker Cody Ippolito and tight end Trevor Wood will both miss the entire season with injuries. Ippolito recently tore his ACL and Wood suffered a shoulder injury and had surgery.

In addition, receivers Trey Griffey and Tyrell Johnson will both miss a couple of weeks with foot injuries.

These injuries add on to that of center Carter Wood, Trevor’s older brother, who has a chronic foot injury and will also miss the entire season.

“So we have some young guys that are on the depth chart now that haven’t played and probably a few more that will be put on there before Thursday night,” Rodriguez said. “That’s probably the biggest concern. Not knowing for sure how they’ll respond under the lights.”

Rodriguez stressed the importance of staying healthy throughout camp. Unfortunately, the injuries have piled up quickly which will require the younger players to step up into their new roles.

Ippolito played in all 14 games last year for the Wildcats and started six of them. His loss will be a tough one to swallow for an Arizona team that is on the upswing.

“What’s a shame was [Ippolito] was having a really good camp and he’s a tough, hard-nosed football player that comes and loves to compete and loves to practice,” Rodriguez said. “He’ll rehab like crazy after surgery and hopefully we’ll get him back for another year or two, playing at a high level.”

UTSA and Arizona met last year on Sept. 4, where Arizona squeaked one out in a 26-23 victory in San Antonio. Rodriguez doesn’t plan on treating the Roadrunners different than any other team.

“We look at the first game and what we have to do to win that one,” Rodriguez said. “If we win that one, we’ll get the next game and see what we’ve got to do to win that one.”

Rodriguez said the past few practices have included preparation for UTSA, as well as preparing themselves for the season.

One notable starter listed on the depth chart is freshman Sammy Morrison at left cornerback. Rodriguez said any starter could change from now until Thursday, however, due to the way practice goes.

“Sammy’s certainly in the mix to be a starter and I think it’s because he’s had a good camp. He’s been really consistent and learned really quickly,” Rodriguez said. “He’s got a great sense of football for a young guy.”

Rodriguez has also seen quarterback Anu Solomon’s confidence increase headed into the first game.

“I think his confidence certainly has [increased] because he had a really good freshman year and he knows he’s been the guy now all camp,” Rodriguez said. “I haven’t yelled at him nearly as much because I don’t think I have to, but I still have moments.

The Wildcats will lean on Solomon to get them through the early part of the already injury-plagued season.

“Our expectations for Anu will be high, but I know he has them high for himself too.”


Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.


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