What is it that coaches always say? They just want to get through spring practice, especially the final scrimmage, without any injuries.
The Arizona Wildcats did neither.
In the wake of previous ACL tears to backup running back Greg Nwoko and starting safety Adam Hall, starting linebacker Jake Fischer suffered a potentially serious knee injury late in Saturday’s spring game at Arizona Stadium.
It was too early for coach Mike Stoops to speculate on the injury, but he said, “We’ll be disappointed if it’s significant. That will be another major blow for us.”
Depth at linebacker already took a hit in the offseason when backups R.J. Young and Trevor Erno left the team.
Arizona has returning starters Paul Vassallo and Derek Earls at linebacker, but there’s no experience after that if Fischer’s injury is significant. A trio of incoming freshmen will have to be ready to play.
“It sucks that we’re kind of thin all around, but it happens,” Earls said. “You just have to get more people and keep moving.”
The Wildcats like to use their nickel package with five defensive backs and just the two linebackers — as much as 75 percent of the time, Stoops estimated — but that scheme took a hit with the loss of Hall.
He underwent surgery about a week-and-a-half-ago and attended the scrimmage on crutches.
“I’m feeling really good,” Hall said.
“Surgery went great, and things are going good as far as rehab already. I’m above the curve and I’m going to keep going from there. … My spirits will always be up, but it’s a long process.”
Hall said he still hopes to be able to return for the 2011 season.