First it was starting safety Adam Hall. Then Greg Nwoko. Then Jake Fischer in a meaningless near-end of the spring game.
Arizona football's fourth torn ACL injury of the offseason landed on defensive tackle Willie Mobley in a pickup basketball game at the Rec Center, according to the Arizona Daily Star. That's four major knee injuries to four highly important players for Mike Stoops' football squad during the "offseason" if such a thing exists in college athletics these days.
It comes at an interesting time for UA football, where each glimmer of success results in a mass exodus of key members of the coaching staff or stars to the NFL.
Where the Wildcats finally broke through in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl, the programs' rise was dampened when game-changing tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a back injury which sidelined him for Arizona's run (and eventually embarrassing loss) in the Holiday Bowl to Nebraska in 2009.
Then it was losing offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes, the man who could be credited for saving Stoops' job after four mediocre years, leaving Tucson for a head position at Louisiana Tech. And Stoops' brother, Mark, left for Florida State where his Seminoles only allowed opponents to score over the 30-point mark three times in his first go-around.
There was the rousing of Texas defensive backfield genius and former Wildcat coach Duane Akina returning to Arizona ... for a couple weeks. He went skipping back to Texas supposedly because of family issues.
And now, in 2011, the Wildcats are no longer the rising stars of the soon-to-be Pac-12. They're shrouded in uncertainty. Depth has been lost with Nwoko and Mobley's injuries -- Mobley was to back up sophomore Justin Washington at tackle and Nwoko would surely get a lot of carries behind little-man starter Keola Antolin.
Fischer flashed signs of maybe edging his way into an All Conference Defensive Team, while Hall might have had to highest potential of them all, a playmaker that a solid-yet-average defense was looking for all of last year.
But after all of the negativity I just plowed through, at the very least, there's three months before game day for these four guys to get healthy as possible.Though, torn ACLs aren't supposed to have that brisk of a recovery pace. Then again, that's also three more months for someone else to get hurt.