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September 12, 2018

Return of left tackle Layth Friekh should be a boost to beleaguered offensive line

He and the university appealed to the NCAA for a fifth season. The NCAA granted the request but determined that Friekh would have to sit the first two games.

Arizona’s offense has struggled to finish drives. Big plays have been rare. The Wildcats’ green offensive line — almost bereft of starting experience — personified the inconsistency that has plagued the entire offensive unit.

Friekh’s return won’t solve all of Arizona’s woes, but it will help.

“He’s a veteran guy,” said senior receiver Shawn Poindexter, who also played with Friekh in high school. “This’ll be his fourth year (as a starter). Just having that leadership on the field for those offensive linemen is going to be huge.”

Friekh’s return won’t be the only change up front. The plan is to move freshman Donovan Laie from left tackle to right tackle, and Cody Creason from right tackle to left guard. Friekh is looking forward to playing alongside Creason, who had been the line’s elder statesman while Friekh was out.


Sumlin provided an update on QB Khalil Tate’s health, saying he was “at practice” Monday, isn’t 100 percent but should improve over the course of the week.

Tate sprained his left ankle against Houston, hampering him for much of the game.


Defensive tackle Dereck Boles and safety Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles are both expected to be available Saturday, Sumlin said.

Both left the Houston game because of injuries and did not return.

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