Starters Justin Belknap (knee) and Luca Bruno (concussion) are listed as doubtful for Saturday’s Territorial Cup, while Dereck Boles (ankle) is listed as questionable.
Questionable: DL Dereck Boles (ankle)
Doubtful: DE Justin Belknap (knee), DL Luca Bruno (concussion)
UA head coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday at his weekly presser that Arizona’s defensive line is a “concern.”
It is already a position that Arizona is lacking depth at, and Rodriguez acknowledged that an offensive player might have to be flipped to defense to combat the injury bug.
“You gotta have some size,” he said. “You just can’t put 200-pounders in there at this level, so we’re looking at any and all options with a short amount of time.”
It is also unclear if Parker Zellers will play Saturday. The senior d-lineman didn’t play against Oregon last week for disciplinary reasons, though Rodriguez tended to believe that he will return vs. ASU.
In any event, reserves like Larry Tharpe Jr., JB Brown, Kurtis Brown, Finton Connolly, and Marcus Griffin will have to take on bigger roles this week.
The Wildcats have struggled mightily to stop the run and generate a consistent pass rush the last several weeks and that was when their d-line wasn’t ravaged by injuries.
ASU has a solid duo of running backs in Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard, so Arizona will need all hands on deck to contain the Devils’ ground game.
If there is any good news from this injury report it’s that Arizona’s linebacking corps and secondary appears to be full go, as does its offense.
The Wildcats are favored to beat ASU by 2.5 points in what’s expected to be a high-scoring affair.
Kickoff in Tempe is set for 2:30 p.m. MST and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire