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Arizona football notes: Injury at guard, ‘tough’ Antolin, ex-Cats coming and going

Carter Lees, seen here in spring practice, might be in the starting lineup Saturday. Photo by Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic

Arizona, which has started three different combinations at guard through five games, might be looking at yet another one Saturday at Oregon State.

Junior Shane Zink, who has started two games at right guard and one at left guard as an injury replacement, is out, perhaps for the rest of the season, with a foot injury suffered last week at USC.

“It could be permanent for the year,” coach Mike Stoops said after Wednesday’s practice. “Not sure exactly what we’re doing there.”

Zink started at left guard last week for starter Chris Putton, who was out because of an ankle injury. Stoops said he was hopeful that Putton could get back to practice Thursday.

If Putton can’t go, then redshirt freshman Carter Lees would make his first start. He came in for Zink last week.

“He played amazing,” junior center Kyle Quinn said of Lees.

“I saw him coming in off the sideline, and I was like, ‘All right, Carter, time for you to step up,’ and he did. He came right in and did his job. He was talking and having a lot of fun.

“I told him after the game, ‘You did your job; now keep getting better and learn from it.’ Just a great experience for him.”

Trace Biskin is slated to start at right guard.

Related: Adam Hall ‘very close’ to return from ACL injury

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It’s easy to understand the attention focused on freshman running back Ka’Deem Carey. He’s a local kid with a bright future who is adjusting nicely to college competition, with an increasing role each week. He scored three touchdowns at USC last Saturday.

But let’s not forget starter Keola Antolin. He is averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Carey is averaging 4.1.

“I love Antolin,” Oregon State defensive coordinator Mark Banker told the Portland Tribune. “I always liked him over (Nic) Grigsby. He’s a tough ass. I like tough guys, and he’s one of them.”

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Speaking of Grigsby, he’s now an Oakland Raider.

Grigsby, an undrafted free agent, went through camp with the Miami Dolphins and then was signed to their practice squad after final cuts. He was released by the Dolphins early this week before latching onto the Raiders’ practice squad.

Former Arizona basketball player Fendi Onobun was released this week from the Seattle Seahawks practice squad with an injury settlement:

Here is the updated list of ex-Cats in the NFL:
–Colin Baxter, C, New York Jets
–Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago
–Eben Britton, OT, Jacksonville
–Antoine Cason, DB, San Diego
–Nick Folk, PK, New York Jets
–Chris Gronkowski, FB, Indianapolis
–Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England
–Spencer Larsen, FB, Denver
–Earl Mitchell, DT, Houston
–Brooks Reed, LB, Houston
–D’Aundre Reed, DE, Minnesota
–Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville

Practice squads
–Lionel Dotson, DL, Buffalo
–Adam Grant, OT, Denver
–Nic Grigsby, RB, Oakland
–Nate Ness, CB, Washington

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Arizona will see a lot of familiar names in a poll of 46 Heisman voters at StiffArmTrophy.com. The Wildcats have played against seven of the top 20 vote-getters. (Of course, perhaps it helped those guys that they got to play against the Cats’ defense.)

Arizona has unsuccessfully stopped No. 1 Andrew Luck, No. 9 LaMichael James, No. 10 Justin Blackmon, No. 13 Brandon Weeden, No. 17 Matt Barkley, No. 19 Darron Thomas, No. 20 Robert Woods.

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Stoops is 2-5 against Oregon State in what has been a series of close games. Five of the seven games have been decided by a touchdown or less.

“It’s been a very tough rivalry,” Beavers coach Mike Riley said. “I have really appreciated these games with Arizona. They’ve all taken on different tones through the years I suppose, but all very hard fought.”

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