clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arizona football: Wildcats' MLB situation is in a strange place

This could get weird

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

When the Arizona Wildcats lost Scooby Wright III for a few weeks after the opener, we knew it was not going to be a great situation at MLB for the team, especially with Cody Ippolito out for the year with a torn ACL.

But I don't think anyone saw the dearth of bodies that the team is already dealing with after two weeks.

Haden Gregory was the first man up to try and replace Scooby, but immediately went down with a knee injury that will sideline him for 2-4 weeks.

That brought in Tre Tyler, who then suffered an ankle sprain against Nevada, but played through it.

"There's so much to learn, that it's hard to do," Rodriguez said about moving guys to mike linebacker. "What we've been forced to do is move guys that have been playing outside linebacker, sam or will, and now they gotta learn to play mike. And that's not a bad thing, because it's forcing them to learn the entire package, but it seems like most of the injuries have hit that one spot."

"That is a position of concern with our depth right now though, definitely."

Does this rash of injuries at one position have any precedent in RichRod's coaching history? Nope, not really.

"Not this quickly," coach explained. "The same position, how does that happen? You try to prepare for it the best you can, and then adjust accordingly."

Reggie Gilbert put it well too, when asked if he's ever seen a position get hurt this much, this early: "No I have not."

"Injuries are pretty much bad luck, and guys just have to be ready and step up."

"The first game, I was like 'Wow, who are these guys behind me?' but I'm proud of the way they've came along and the way they've matured."

One guy who might be forced into the middle is Jake Matthews, who usually plays WLB.

"For the last three years I've been in the program, you just kind of learn by listening to Coach Casteel talk in the meeting rooms, and I think I can play all three positions if it came to that."

Matthews was sporting a large brace on his right knee on Monday, plus DeAndre' Miller didn't play against Nevada, and Derrick Turituri, who's the likely fill-in guy at MLB, is also hurt.

Although Ippolito's injury is the only one that's turned out to be long term, it's certainly been lucky that Arizona didn't have the strongest of non-conference schedules. When Pac-12 play really gets rolling, the linebackers have a chance of being back close to full strength, and the Wildcats will certainly need that to be the case if they want to repeat as Pac-12 South Champions.