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Four Arizona defensive backs suspended after review of brawl

Interim head coach Tim Kish won't have many defensive backs to yell at during the next game. Photo by Chris Morrision, US-PRESSWIRE

Arizona’s secondary will be stretched even thinner for the game at Washington on Oct. 29, as four defensive backs will be suspended for at least at a half because of their part in Thursday’s brawl against UCLA.

The Pac-12, after reviewing video of the incident Friday, handed down suspensions to 10 players, including six from UCLA.

“The Conference is extremely disappointed in the actions of the student-athletes involved in this incident,” commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement.

“It is unacceptable behavior and violated Conference rules, as well as NCAA fighting rules. I have taken these actions today because it is imperative that we hold our student-athletes and coaches to the highest standards of sportsmanship.”

Sophomore starting cornerback Shaquille Richardson was ejected, as was UCLA receiver Taylor Embree, with four seconds to go in the first half. The Pac-12 went further and extended their suspensions for one game.

Senior Lyle Brown replaced Richardson in the second half, but the Pac-12 has suspended him for the first half of the Washington game. Junior safety Mark Watley is also suspended for a half. Freshman nickel back Jourdon Grandon is suspended for the entire game.

“It was an unfortunate incident and one with consequences that we fully understand and support,” Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne said in a statement. “The University of Arizona in no way accepts such behavior from student-athletes.

“We stress that sportsmanship is a principle to follow in everything that we do. The Pac-12 moved quickly to resolve this issue and we’ll move forward.”

Arizona has been without starting cornerback Jonathan McKnight all season, and junior safety Adam Hall played in one game after rehabbing a torn ACL before re-injuring the knee at Oregon State on Oct. 8. He is not expected to play again this season.

Who’s left?

There is senior corner Trevin Wade and starting safeties Robert Golden and Marquis Flowers. Freshman Tramayne Bondurant made his first start Thursday, coming up with a team-high eight tackles.

His success and playing time might have been aided by interim head coach Tim Kish’s switch to the run-stuffing double-eagle flex scheme against the Bruins’ run-based offense.

Sophomore Derrick Rainey probably is next in line at cornerback. True freshman Cortez Johnson, who has mostly played on special teams, has been listed as a backup but has not played in the past two games because of undisclosed reasons.

Arizona will be facing one of the top quarterbacks in the Pac-12 — Washington sophomore Keith Price, who is fifth nationally with a passing efficiency rating of 177.91. The Huskies have a veteran receiving corps, including Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar and James Johnson.

The suspensions for UCLA are:

Sophomore guard Alberto Cid — half-game
Sophomore wide receiver Randall Carroll — one game
Sophomore wide receiver Shaq Evans — one game
Sophomore wide receiver Ricky Marvray — one game
Sophomore defensive tackle Cassius Marsh – two games

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