The leading returning receiver this season -- if we're not counting Austin Hill -- has been recovering from a foot injury. All along, the Washington game was pegged as his potential return date. On Tuesday's Pac-12 teleconference call, coach Rich Rodriguez said that Richards had practiced Sunday and Monday, but a decision on his status wouldn't be made until after the remaining practices in Tucson this week.
If the Wildcats vying for an upset against the No. 16 Huskies, Richard's return could be huge.
"We really struggled at the beginning of August I think and that was a combination with new receivers and a new quarterback," Rodriguez said of the passing game on the coaches call. "We know we got to be ready to throw the ball. We've worked harder on that than anything else we have offensively."
Arizona knows teams will begin loading the box. And though we haven't seen much of a passing attack so far, there hasn't been the need. Rodriguez understands that.
Quarterback B.J. Denker has 326 passing yards this season, a fifth of what Oregon State's Sean Mannion has produced. The Pac-12 has three quarterbacks in the top-five in passing yards nationally, but Mannion leading the way with more than 1,600 yards through the air on 133 attempts
Denker, meanwhile, has only thrown 31 whole passes in three games, which is 23 percent of Mannion's output.
It's all relative.
Nonetheless, Richard's presence would help immensely. He had 29 receptions for 298 yards and three touchdowns last year and had sure hands as one of the team's bigger wideouts.
Depth chart notes
- Javelle Allen is officially B.J. Denker's backup, and Jesse Scroggins has fallen to a battle for the third spot with Nick Isham.
- At receiver, former running back Nicolas Grigsby's brother, Terris Jones-Grigsby, is listed as the backup slot receiver behind Terrence Miller, and Trey Griffey is listed with Trevor Ermisch as a co-backup behind Garic Wharton. The Wildcats will need strong games from all of the above, along with freshmen Nate Phillips, Samjie Grant, Clive Georges, and proven talent Johnny Jackson.