The Arizona Wildcats have a major question mark at the most important position in football, quarterback, but they also are looking for answers at another important, yet often overlooked position.
Usual long snapper Nick Reinhardt was unavailable in Arizona’s 19-16 loss to Houston due to injury, and his absence proved costly.
The Wildcats failed to convert on a short field goal because of a high snap, taking three points off the board in what ended up being a three-point loss.
Rich Rodriguez didn’t divulge on the severity of Reinhardt’s injury, but we’ve heard it could be season-ending, meaning the Wildcats quickly need to find a long-term solution at the position.
Donald Reiter is listed as Reinhardt’s backup, but starting center Nathan Eldridge seems like the one who will take over the position based on what Rodriguez said at Monday’s presser.
“Now we’ve got a host of guys long snapping. Donald (Reiter) did a nice job. He can zip it back there, but the short snaps were an issue coming in. We started off with a couple guys but Nate Eldridge did a really nice job when he got in there so we’re pretty confident in Nate,” he said.
The problem is, according to Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star, Eldridge had never snapped on field goal attempts prior to Saturday’s game vs. Houston.
But he does have experience taking reps in practice, though.
Should clarify this a bit: He had never done it in a GAME. Eldridge was among the players who practiced short snaps during the week. https://t.co/bapIqG30xp— Michael Lev (@MichaelJLev) September 12, 2017
Still, with Arizona’s margin for error being so minuscule this year, it really can’t afford situations where bad snaps take points off the board or turn a routine punt into something disastrous.
The Wildcats failed to convert on a 30-yard field goal against Houston, and those three points turned out to be the difference in a crucial, season-defining game.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire