Scooby will be back for UA football, but in time for UCLA?

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                </div>  Rich Rodriguez could sure use that missing bye week right now. The University of Arizona head football coach expressed concerns when the 2015 schedule came out and he discovered […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Rich Rodriguez could sure use that missing bye week right now.

The University of Arizona head football coach expressed concerns when the 2015 schedule came out and he discovered his team would have to play 12 straight games, not getting a bye week until just before the Pac-12 title game.  He knew the havoc injuries could wreak under that scenario.

His worse fears came home to roost in last week’s season opener against USTA, when his All-American linebacker Scooby Wright III went down in the first quarter with an injury to his left knee.  Wright watched the rest of the game from the sidelines, with the help of a cane.

Rich Rod’s concerns were turning into his worst nightmare since Wright is not only one of the nation’s best at his position, but the junior has also become a team leader and a key to its quest for a second straight Pac-12 South Division title.

But Arizona has apparently dodged the fatal bullet on this one, avoiding the prospect of a season-ending injury. Instead, Rodriguez reported earlier this week that Wright underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus and can possibility be back on the field by the end of the month, depending on hows quickly the big guy heals.

Rodriguez gave the news a positive spin by speculating that Wright could come back from surgery even stronger than he was before.

The fourth-year head coach cautioned that doctors and trainers will make sure Wright is 100 per cent healed and ready to play before putting him back on the field.  And that means it’s unlikely he will be ready for the conference opener against UCLA in Tucson on Sept. 26, but a return by the following week when the Wildcats travel to The Farm to play Stanford isn’t out of the question.

In the meantime, Nevada and Northern Arizona round out the find two games of the non-conference schedule.  Both are on the schedule to provide easy wins, and the Cats shouldn’t have much trouble running the record to 3-0, even without Wright.

His replacement is expected to be redshirt senior Haden Gregory, who would be getting the biggest break of his college career.  A junior-college transfer from Long Beach City College, he was a walk-on with the Arizona program.  He redshirted in 2013 and saw action in six games last year, playing at his linebacker position, as well as on special teams.

The fact that he’s getting the opportunity, however, shows how thin Arizona is at the linebacker position.

But no matter who Rodriguez inserts into the middle LB slot, it will be a fall-off.  Wright, who was a diamond in the rough as a two-star recruit, blossomed into one of the nation’s best defensive players last year as a sophomore, sweeping all of the nation’s top defensive awards – the Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy, and Chuck Bednarik Award – while earning consensus All-America honors and being named the Pac-12 defensive Player of the Year.

Even without Wright for most of the USTA game, the defensive unit that remained held its own.  The two scores they provided were sorely needed in winning a game that should have been a comfortable win, as Arizona escaped with a 42-32 victory.

Looking back to Arizona’s encounter with Nevada last year, Wright’s impact was obvious.  The 6’1″, 246-pound force of nature collected 14 tackles against the Wolf Pack, which the Cats won by just a single touchdown, 35-28.

Arizona should win this one, too.  But Wright’s absence has just made Nevada’s job a lot easier.