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It gets worse: Jonathan McNight out for season with the Wildcats' fifth torn ACL of the offseason

Maybe I should have waited to write this. Charles Barkley once said that God doesn't play favorites in sports, but for the Arizona football team, it's quite possible that isn't the case. Arizona might as well be cursed.

Sophomore cornerback Jonathan McKnight, the only cornerback who had solidified his spot as a starter for head coach Mike Stoops' team, torn his ACL at Wednesday's practice after going up for a ball without contact and coming down awkwardly.

Cursed? Maybe. Bad luck? Perhaps.

"It's just the way things are happening right now," Stoops said following Thursday's practice. "To get a guy hurt non-contact is kind of freakish but we've had two or three of them like that.

"It's just one of those things. I feel very disappointed and sad for him and our team. It's just the way things are going right now, but you know, he'll bounce back and be back in spring. He's got a redshirt year, so he'll hopefully be around me one more year so it's not all bad."

Now, filling the cornerback slots is a gimme. Senior Trevin Wade and sophomore Shaquille Richardson will start, moving freshman standout Cortez Johnson into the first spot off the bench. Stoops will also utilize freshman Jourdan Grandon in nickel packages, and is confident and grateful -- if he could be in such a situation -- that his defensive back stable is deep.

Grandon recently returned from his own knee injury, albeit one not as bad as McKnight, Jake Fischer, Adam Hall, Willie Mobley or Greg Nwoko, all of whom torn their ACLs.

"Lose one, get one back," Stoops said. "I anticipate Jourdan will start for us at nickel if things continue the way they are, but really we have a decent amount of quality players back there. We just lose a good person, good player."

Of course, maybe it isn't a curse. Stoops was baffled over this injury and the string of ACL tears before it, saying he's never experienced such bad luck.


Is there anything the team is doing differently trainingwise? Are they overworking players?


Says Stoops:

"There's a fine line as coaches, how much you practice, how much you don't. We haven't done anything to change or alter our schedule any way, or our training. I don't have a good explanation right now."



Stoops on Fischer and Hall's potential return dates:

"I would say a month would be the quickest from, probably next Saturday. We're probably five weeks out on them. The beginning of October would be a realistic expectation. But I would say that would be the earliest. Their movements are getting better. Stability is very good right now with both players. The last month is getting the explosive power back and feeling comfortable with what you're doing. It's getting that security."