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Several Arizona offensive linemen ‘doubtful’ for Utah game

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NCAA Football: Arizona State at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats’ offensive line is short-handed and reinforcements aren’t on the way.

Head coach Kevin Sumlin said Monday that center Josh McCauley and guards Bryson Cain and Cody Creason are “doubtful” for Saturday’s home finale vs. the No. 7-ranked Utah Utes.

McCauley and Cain both suffered lower body injuries (on the same play) against Oregon State a couple weeks ago and missed last Saturday’s game at Oregon. Creason has not played since Oct. 12 vs. Washington due to a leg injury.

Arizona’s starting offensive line against the Ducks consisted of Jordan Morgan (LT), Donovan Laie (LG), Steven Bailey (C), Jon Jacobs (RG), and Paiton Fears (RT).

Laie and Fears are the only regulars, though Laie usually lines up at left tackle. Morgan is a true freshman, Bailey is a junior-college transfer who had only appeared in two other games, and Jacobs is a walk-on.

The makeshift unit surrendered six sacks in the 34-6 loss to Oregon. Arizona also rotated in Robert Congel and Josh Donovan.

“We had a freshman left tackle, we had a couple guys who have never played, so the evaluation of that is difficult because of a lot of those guys have never played football,” Sumlin said. “So you want them to play better, you want them to play great, and at no time did they back down, it’s just there’s a reason why guys have to play. If they were the best we had, they would have played from the beginning.”

Morgan, a former three-star recruit from nearby Marana High School, made his first career start Saturday. Sumlin thought the freshman was “shaky” early in the game but gained confidence as it went on.

Morgan might not get an opportunity to build on it.

“I thought in the second quarter he played pretty well and then he got injured,” Sumlin said. “That’s the reason he didn’t play in the second half. So we got some work to do this week.”

Utah (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12) is No. 1 in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (11.3 points per game) and total defense (248.6 yards per game).

The Wildcats (4-6, 2-5) need to win their final two games to reach bowl eligibility