Every football team deals with injuries as the year progresses. But the Arizona Wildcats had some back luck as they lost both starting safeties.
Tra'Mayne Bondurant suffered a concussion during the Utah game, and Jared Tevis injured his knee against UCLA.
But both are back just in time to face the pass-heavy offense of Washington State, and the high-powered spreads of Oregon and Arizona State.
"We've got more depth now," said head coach Rich Rodriguez. "When they were out we were razor-thin at safety, so at least now we can play (Will) Parks, and roll more guys in and play nickel coverages, stuff like that."
While each guy was out, Will Parks and Anthony Lopez both did a good job filling in, and even now with Tevis seeing some time at linebacker with Jake Fischer dealing with his own knee injury has gotten Parks more experience.
"They did a real good job," said Tevis. "It was great to have someone fill my shoes when I got banged up and when Tra'Mayne was out with that concussion. It was big to have some players come in and know what they were doing to help us out."
"It's always hard not to go out there with your full team, but that's why we have guys that come in and they know what they're doing," added Bondurant. "They're ready to come in and step up, so no matter what the task is, we're always prepared."
Yes, they did a good job, but having Tevis back, who led the team in tackles before getting injured, and having Bondurant, who still leads the team with his three interceptions (all in the first two games), is still an enormous boost for this team.
Concussions are always a scary thing to hear about with all this new information coming out about brain injuries and CTE. QB Jesse Scroggins suffered one right before fall camp, and never really seemed to get right after it. So after Bondurant suffered his against Utah, it was fair to question whether or not he would be back at all.
"It's pretty irritating," Bondurant said. "Knowing you catch headaches through the day, you can't really do nothing except sleep. There's not really any medicine you can take or anything you can do except rest. It's frustrating."
But Bondurant is back to his normal, upbeat self heading into this Washington State game.
"Another week playing football with a team where we all get opportunities to make plays and get a lot of interceptions."
"I like the run game, I like hitting," added Tevis. "But it's always fun to have the passing in there. Hopefully that gives us the chance to get a lot of interceptions."
"That's why we're safeties. Hybrids, we get to do both."
Luckily, these hard-hitting, pass intercepting safeties are back on the field together. The defense is going to have to play well during these final three games, and it starts with having everyone healthy.