Colorado had already lost one starting inside linebacker to injury. Now, the Buffs have lost another.
Kenneth Olugbode sustained an unspecified leg injury in the Week 5 loss to Oregon. As a result, Olugbode will miss 4-6 weeks.
At minimum, Olugbode will miss games against Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon State and UCLA, possibly returning for the Nov. 7 game against Stanford. Missing six weeks would see him miss the Stanford and USC games, returning, Nov. 21 vs. Washington State.
“It’s going to be a big loss,” defensive tackle Justin Solis said according to the Denver Post. “It starts up front with us, the D-line. Not having K.O. out there is a huge loss, but it’s definitely something we accept as a challenge as a D-line. We’re going to step it up while he’s out.”
Olugbode had started all five games this season after starting all 12 games as a sophomore last season. Ryan Severson is expected to take his place in the starting lineup.
Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.
As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.
“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”
“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”
Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.
“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”
With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.
Gather your collective sighs. Yet another key player has suffered yet another key injury. This time the injury bug has bitten for the second time, as Arizona All-American linebacker Scooby Wright will miss “several weeks” with another lower-body injury.
Wright injured his lateral meniscus in Arizona’s opener against UTSA, then returned for the Wildcats’ 59-30 loss to UCLA Saturday, a game in which he looked like a player fresh off an extended injury break.
And now he’ll miss several more weeks, this time with a sprained foot.
“If it was broken, which was a concern, we could have gotten a medical redshirt if we applied for it,” Arizona head coach Rodriguez said Monday. “Jamar Allah and Anthony Lopez suffered foot sprains in camp, and they returned in a few weeks, and with the way Scooby attacks his rehab, hopefully we’ll have him back in a couple of weeks.”
Wright collected 163 tackles (first nationally), 14 sacks (third) and 29 tackles for loss (first) in 2014, a season in which he won the Nagurski, Bednarik and Lombardi awards.
Freshman Tre Tyler will place Wright in the middle of Arizona’s defense.
As far as silver linings go, Arizona’s October schedule is about as easy as it gets in the Pac-12. The Wildcats visit Stanford Saturday, host Oregon State Oct. 10, visit Colorado 17, host Washington State Oct. 24, and then visit Washington on Halloween before closing with road trips to USC and Arizona State sandwiched around a home date with Utah.