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Football notes: 'Dinged-up' linebackers may return against Cal

Jake Lacey/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona was without linebacker Dane Krogstad, who was out with a shoulder injury, during the 31-24 loss to No. 11 Purdue on Saturday at Arizona Stadium. Head coach Mike Stoops is hopeful that Krogstad will return to action will fellow linemen Ronnie Palmer, Spencer Larsen and Randy Sims to open Pac-10 play on Oct. 1.
By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 22, 2005
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The impending bye weekend for the Arizona football team gives a Wildcat squad hit hard by injuries a chance to heal before opening Pacific-10 Conference play Oct. 1 at California, head coach Mike Stoops said yesterday after practice.

"I've never seen so many linebackers get dinged up as ours have," Stoops said. "Hopefully, we will start getting those guys back."

Arizona was without linebackers Dane Krogstad (shoulder), Ronnie Palmer (foot), Spencer Larsen (hamstring) and Randy Sims (ankle) Saturday when No. 11 Purdue won 31-24 at Arizona Stadium.

The Wildcats have also sustained losses at both starting defensive end positions, missing Copeland Bryan since the Sept. 2 opener at Utah and Marcus Smith since Sept. 9 against NAU.

The numerous voids in the defense have allowed for others to shine, including Krogstad, who had 23 tackles before his injury, and junior linebacker Akin Akinniyi, who made a team-high seven tackles against Purdue.

Reinforcements should be on the way when Arizona locks up with No. 15 California, Stoops said. Krogstad is expected back, and there is a strong possibility Bryan may play as well.

Sims has nearly recovered completely from his ankle injury, Stoops said, and should be 100 percent for the conference opener.

Smith, meanwhile, remains on the sidelines indefinitely.

Bears don't scare Cats

Cal (2-0) is Arizona's second consecutive top-15 opponent and concludes the Wildcats' three-game stretch against nationally ranked teams.

The Wildcats are still looking at it the same as any other game, said freshman defensive lineman Mike Shelton.

"We get ready the same for any team," he said.

Shelton went from leading his Dominguez High School team in the California Interscholastic playoffs less than a year ago to starting against a nationally ranked foe last week against Purdue.

In his first three collegiate appearances, Shelton has made three tackles, two for a loss.

"The speed of the game is much faster than in high school," he said.

Shelton and the rest of the Arizona defense could face even more of that speed when they take the field against Cal's star tailback, Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch suffered a broken finger Sept. 10 in a game at Washington but will be back when the Wildcats head to Memorial Stadium in Berkeley for the Bears' homecoming game.

The sophomore dynamo averaged 8.8 yards per carry in 2004 playing behind current Arizona Cardinal J.J. Arrington and was rated the Pac-10's No. 2 tailback by Lindy's College Football over the summer.

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