Arizona Wildcats special teams ace Trevor Ermisch will need surgery after suffering a torn left ACL on the opening kickoff at Cal, coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday.
Ermisch, a junior receiver from Phoenix, has been on all of UA’s special teams units.
“Trevor is probably our most productive special teams player,” Rodriguez said.
“It was just a non-contact injury. He was literally just running down the field, making a cut across a guy’s face, and he just planted wrong or something on the turf.”
Ermisch made eight tackles on special teams last season and five this year, including stopping Colorado punter Darragh O’Neill after a gain of 1 yard on a fake two weeks ago. The Buffs ran the fake on fourth-and-5 from their 17.
“He recognized it and reacted quickly,” Rodriguez said last week.
“There was no hesitation in Trevor because he knows what he’s doing and knows what his job is. And that’s the way he is on all the units. It’s important to him. It rubs off on a lot of guys, I think.”
One of those guys could be junior running back Terris Jones-Grigsby, who “has been pretty good, too,” Rodriguez said. Jones-Grigsby has eight special teams tackles this season.
Arizona, because of its lack of depth, tries to give its regulars a breather by not using them on special teams, Rodriguez said. The Wildcats often end up using young players and walk-ons. So, the loss of a standout such as Ermisch could be significant.
Ermisch and Jones-Grigsby were both walk-ons before their special teams play helped them earn a scholarship in August.
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Fifth-year senior Terrence Miller is the only receiver in the current rotation who caught a pass from Nick Foles at Arizona. He was not at all surprised that Foles tied an NFL record Sunday with seven touchdown passes against the Oakland Raiders.
“Nick has always been a baller,” Miller said.
“He is one of those guys who stays in the film room and sets high goals for himself. When I hear that Nick Foles threw seven touchdown passes, I’m like, ‘OK.’ I expect that from a guy like him.”
Senior kicker Jake Smith is an Eagles fan from Philadelphia.
“I can’t believe with the football the Eagles have played, we’re only one game out of first place,” he said of the NFC East race. “I hope that’s the real team that showed up.”
Rodriguez didn’t have a chance to coach Foles at Arizona but has seen highlights of the school’s career leading passer.
“I’ve said this before, he can be great in any offense.”
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Matt Scott, a second-team All-Pac-12 quarterback last season, was in Tucson last week and visited with the UA coaches. Scott, who was undrafted, is on the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were off Sunday.
“I told him, ‘I think it’s crazy that somebody is not having you play on Sundays for them as a starter,’” Rodriguez said. “That’s how good I think Matt is.”
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Arizona inside linebacker Jake Fischer missed the Cal game because of a knee injury. Rodriguez sounded optimistic Monday that his senior leader would be able to play against UCLA.
“Jake has always been the guy who keeps everybody organized,” Rodriguez said.
In his absence last week, the Cats often went with six defensive backs, with freshman Scooby Wright taking on a lot of Fischer’s responsibilities. Wright had a team-high 11 tackles and shared a tackle with Jared Tevis on a safety.