Already thin on the defensive line, the Arizona Wildcats will be without defensive tackle Justin Washington after the junior was suspended by coach Rich Rodriguez a few days ago. Both Ryan Finley and Anthony Gimino reported Tuesday evening that Rodriguez confirmed to the media he'd suspended Washington.
DT Justin Washington has been suspended, RichRod says today. Probably a bit of old news; Washington has missed past few practices.— Anthony Gimino (@AGWildcatReport) August 22, 2012
The suspension, which Finley said could go into the first game of the season, is due to an undisclosed violation of team rules. Rodriguez told the media, simply, that Washington has "got to do some things to get back with the team."
It continues a tumultuous time at Arizona for Washington, who broke onto the scene early in his redshirt freshman campaign that good enough for the tackle to receive recognition as a freshman All-American.
Washington recorded 46 tackles and six sacks in his first year with UA, but last season he struggled with injuries, among other things. He finished with only 18 tackles and no sacks while starting in six of nine games played.
Before last season, Washington underwent a shoulder surgery. And in his freshman season, he missed the Holiday Bowl after an allergic reaction to pine nuts. And this offseason, Washington was part of a group of players who got in trouble with the law; he was charged with trespassing in part of the brawl that included current Wildcats Jourdon Grandon and Fabbians Ebbele, according to the Daily Wildcat.
On the field, the absence of Arizona's most experienced and most talented defensive lineman hurts. Washington was listed as one of the ends to play in Jeff Casteel's three-man defensive line.
At 6-foot-2 and 271 pounds, Sione Tuihalamaka probably can be considered the leader in an already-shallow group.