Arizona is down another defensive starter.
Sophomore defensive tackle Justin Washington — who has been ineffective and has been suffering from weight loss, as we learned last week — underwent minor knee surgery last week and will miss this week’s game at Oregon State.
He was suffering from a turf toe injury anyway, so the coaches decided it would be a good time for surgery, given the upcoming bye week on Oct. 15.
Coach Mike Stoops said the home game against UCLA on Oct. 20 “would be an optimistic outlook for him.”
He added: “I think it was bothering him a little bit; just wasn’t full strength to where he needed to be.’
True freshman Sanielia Fuimaono started at tackle against Stanford and Oregon. Junior Jowyn Ward started last week at USC alongside tackle Sione Tuihalamaka.
“Jowyn played well at times and gives us a little more strength inside,” Stoops said.
Ward and Fuimaono are listed as co-starters this week.
Washington has 10 tackles, including two for loss in four games. He had 11.5 tackles for loss last season, including six sacks, en route to Freshman All-American honors.
Arizona has played all season without safety Adam Hall, linebacker Jake Fischer and cornerback Jonathan McKnight, as well as backup defensive tackle Willie Mobley.
Partly due to those ACL injuries, the defense has suffered.
Arizona ranks 111th out of 120 teams in rushing defense (209.6 yards allowed per game), 110th in pass defense (294 yards per game), 115th in total defense (503.6 yards per game) and 112th in scoring defense (37.6 points per game).
And the Cats have played some extraordinarily talented offensive teams in the past four weeks that feature up to eight first-round picks.
“Tackling, a lot of it is position,” Stoops said. “And a lot of it is desire. It first starts with getting into position.”
Stoops has said in recent weeks that Hall might be able to return this week. Asked about Monday, Stoops said, “We’ll see.”