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Arizona football: Rich Rodriguez ‘hopeful’ about injured Wildcats

We won’t know much about the injured players until Thursday, but Rodriguez is optimistic about their condition

Arizona v California
Jarrius Wallace (3) helps take down Cal quarterback Ross Bowers
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

While the Arizona Wildcats injury report isn’t released until Thursday, head coach Rich Rodriguez is “hopeful” about the condition of “most” of UA’s players who were injured Saturday vs. Cal.

“We’re hopeful — I’ll just put it that way — with most of the guys that got nicked up a little bit,” he said at his weekly presser.

Running back Nick Wilson exited in the first quarter with an ankle injury, while freshman linebackers Tony Fields II and Kylan Wilborn and defensive tackle Dereck Boles all left in the fourth quarter of the UA’s double overtime win (the injuries weren’t specified).

The Wildcats were already without Scottie Young Jr. (knee), his backup Troy Young (targeting) and running back J.J. Taylor (also targeting) against Cal, but managed to hold off the Golden Bears nonetheless.

It showed the Wildcats have serviceable depth all throughout the roster which wasn’t the case the past two seasons when injuries decimated the team’s level of play.

Redshirt freshman Jarrius Wallace stood out in particular. The free safety filled in for both Youngs and performed admirably, tallying nine tackles, two pass breakups, and an interception.

“That was something maybe not talked about a whole lot, at least not in the last 24 hours,” Rodriguez said of Wallace’s performance.

“Troy was in for an injured guy and then all of a sudden, Jarrius is in there and even though he wasn’t perfect, I thought he made some terrific plays. I thought for a guy that hadn’t played much other than special teams, he did an outstanding job and it gives us a lot of confidence.”

Wallace intercepted Cal quarterback Ross Bowers in the end zone to take crucial points off the board in the second quarter.

“The interception he made in the red zone was an outstanding play. Perfect technique with his eyes,” Rodriguez said.

“Coach (Jahmile) Addae has done a great job with him. That was neat, and now all of a sudden we have another guy we can trust to put in there when everybody is back and healthy. I was really proud of Jarrius.”

Two weeks ago, senior defensive back Kwesi Mashack entered for Scottie Young Jr. and played well enough to earn a spot on Pro Football Focus’ Pac-12 Defensive Team of the Week.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire