TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -Arizona coach Mike Stoops is anxious to get off to a good start this season, but he must do so without standout tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The Wildcats tweaked their spread offense around the sophomore throughout fall camp, but he will miss the season opener against Idaho on Saturday, and possibly more.
Gronkowski, a Mackey Award watch-list prospect, will be out with strep throat, and possibly mononucleosis. Additional medical tests are scheduled.
``Robbie is pretty much ruled out for this week's game,'' Stoops said on Monday. ``We don't think he will be part of our game plan. It will be a week-to-week kind of situation to see how his condition progresses.''
Gronkowski, who caught 28 passes for 525 yards and six touchdowns a year ago, has not practiced since Friday.
Sophomore A.J. Simmons will take over the starting role. He had one catch for three yards last year. Gronkowski's absence is big considering Arizona's coaches have talked about him catching anywhere between 50 to 100 catches this season.
``We are pretty confident it is not going to be a significant amount of time,'' Stoops said. ``By significant I mean three or four weeks. We are optimistic it will be sooner than that.''
Arizona will rely more on a four-receiver set with Gronkowski out. That suits the offensive style well as the Wildcats have plenty of receivers returning for the 2008 season, including Mike Thomas, who led the Pac-10 in receptions a year ago with 83.
The offense is something Stoops plans to rely on heavily to bring an end to a nine-year bowl drought and to take some of the pressure off him as he enters his fifth season after going 5-7 in 2007.
Arizona improved from 16 points to 28 a year ago after implementing a spread attack. Gronkowski was going to be a big part of taking the next step.
Quarterback Willie Tuitama will have look elsewhere as the offense tried to take the pressure off a young defense, with only three starters returning.
``We may change our sets and what we feature may change,'' Stoops said. ``Whatever our best 11 are for every given situation, we have a lot of flexibility.''

NCAAF Headlines

More inNCAAF News  

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh Pick Given the scoring ability of Pittsburgh, can bettors expect a high-scoring game Thursday night when the Panthers host the Hokies?
Thumbnail CFB Week 9 Las Vegas Odds Week 9 of the College Football Season is set to get underway on Thursday. Here is a look at what Las Vegas thinks of this week’s...
Thumbnail San Diego St. vs. Utah St. Pick San Diego State looks to stay unbeaten in the Mountain West Conference when it hits the road to face Utah State on Friday at...
Thumbnail Navy vs. South Florida Pick Will No. 22 Navy have another high-scoring contest when it hits the road to face South Florida on Friday at 7PM...
Thumbnail California vs. USC Pick Will the USC Trojans and Cal Golden Bears have another Pac-12 shootout when the two meet up this Thursday night at...
More inNCAAF Articles  

NCAAF Team Pages