Football is a physical game, so injuries come with the territory. But, as USD head coach Joe Glenn said during the team's annual media day, "sometimes when it rains, it pours in the same spot."
Unfortunately for Coach Glenn, the Coyotes are getting soaked. At least four players have been lost for the season. Two others are still being evaluated, and there are several more in the "less serious" category.
"We've had eight surgeries in camp," Glenn said following his team's Aug. 21 scrimmage. "At this point last year, we hadn't had any."
Defensive end Chris Wiseman (RFr., Kansas City, Mo.) tore his ACL on one of the final plays of spring practice. Wiseman was expected to push for playing time on the defensive line this season.
Running back Jasper Sanders (Sr., Kansas City, Kan.) broke his wrist during offseason weight training. Sanders says he was doing power cleans, an exercise he'd probably done hundreds of times before, when "it just snapped." He's had two surgeries on the injury and is in a hard cast.
Glenn says there was a chance that he could have been ready late in the season, but he will likely redshirt. Sanders was one of the top kick returners in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2012 and a projected starter.
Running back Earv Archambeau (Sr., Avon, S.D.) ruptured his Achilles' tendon while preparing to take a handoff during practice. There was no contact involved. Tough break for a guy who was finally getting a chance to run the ball after contributing mostly on special teams for much of his career.
The Coyotes plan to seek a medical hardship for Archambeau, but, as I'm sure you know, there are no guarantees when it comes to the NCAA.
Linebacker Kyle Staples (Jr., Fresno, Calif.) tore his ACL during an Aug. 9 practice. Like Archambeau's, Staples' injury happened without contact. Staples, highly touted transfer from Fresno City College, was the projected starter at will linebacker.
Running back Khorey Kilgore (Fr., Blue Springs, Mo.) has an injured knee. He'll have an MRI once the swelling goes down, but there is fear that it will reveal a torn ACL. Kilgore had been impressive in fall camp and, given the injuries to Sanders and Archambeau, seemed to be entrenched as the No. 3 running back.
Wide receiver Anthony Williams (Sr., Tampa, Fla.) suffered an apparent knee injury on the first passing play of the Aug. 21 scrimmage. This is the only one that I actually saw happen. After attempting to make a contested catch, Williams crumpled to the ground in obvious pain. Trainers worked on him for several minutes before helping him off the field. It's the same knee that had been giving Williams trouble throughout fall camp. He'd missed a few practices, but seemed to be back to full strength before Wednesday's setback. No word yet on how long he will be out this time.
Next Man Up
As unfair as all of it might seem, this is the Coyotes new reality. And it's just the beginning. The injuries will continue to mount as the season progresses. That's just the nature of the beast. The hope for Coach Glenn and his staff is that the worst of it is behind them.
For now, the coaches will fill the holes with the best available man and expect those individuals to seize the opportunity.
"It's important for the next guy to step in and do the job," Glenn said.