You can expect an injury report to be released every Thursday leading up to Saturday games. Week 1’s edition was revealed earlier this afternoon, and three players – junior wide receiver Kyle Prater, redshirt freshman offensive tackle Eric Olson and redshirt freshman receiver Mike McHugh – were ruled out for the game at Cal this weekend.
Losing anyone listed on the two deep will strain one’s depth, but the Wildcats are well-equipped to make adjustments for these absences, however long they persist – both for this Saturday and in the long run.
At receiver, redshirt freshman Andrew Scanlan or sophomore Pierre Youngblood-Ary (more likely), who has shined in practice over the past two weeks, could step in at the “X” position behind Tony Jones. Prater has battled injuries throughout the offseason; his inability to play Saturday is not surprising. McHugh is a long, athletic target who should be a big part of this passing game sometime down the line. Northwestern's ability to slot another capable target in Youngblood-Ary (or Scanlan) behind Jones is a testament to its depth at the position.
Olson would have been the backup right tackle Saturday, but the Wildcats can move forward feeling comfortable with Kenton Playko, a redshirt freshman, potentially filling his spot on the two-deep.
That backup defensive tackle Greg Kuhar, who was in a walking boot as recently as Wednesday night, will be available is, as they like to say, the silver lining of Thursday’s report. Kuhar isn’t listed on the two-deep, but could prove a crucial reserve piece at DT this season.