The Arizona Wildcats have now lost two linebackers in the past three weeks. Redshirt freshman Kendal Franklin announced that he was transferring and senior Derrick Turituri has been removed from the roster.
Now, there's a lot we don't know about this defense and what Marcel Yates has up his sleeve with this new 4-2-5 scheme. And there's also some uncertainty at linebacker.
You hope that two key contributors throughout their career, Cody Ippolito and Jake Matthews, are both in fact 100% healthy heading into the season. And then there is Michael Barton, the Cal graduate transfer who battled some injuries of his own throughout his time with the Golden Bears. Carrington Vaughn was a guy who many spoke highly of this offseason and I've also heard that Jamardre Cobb is picking up the scheme nicely as well.
Still, it's hard to set expectations with some of these guys given the question marks surrounding them.
We do know that DeAndre' Miller is playing that hybrid defensive end/linebacker position that Yates used back at Boise State called the Stud. And behind him will likely be true freshman Kahi Neves, who enrolled early and joined the team this spring. Then Paul Magloire will shore up one of the two designated linebacker spots.
That last spot seems to be up for grabs. Maybe a battle between Matthews and Barton, or Ippolito for a short yardage situation. Or, perhaps, it is Vaughn or Cobb, maybe even the Iowa transfer John Kenny, who steps up this season into that role.
There's a lot of uncertainties with this defense whether that's because of injuries, newcomers or this new scheme, but that's how I see the linebacker situation playing out to start the season.