Starting fullback Eric Stevens will be out for the entire season after tearing the ACL in his right knee during Wednesday’s full pads practice.
The junior, who has injured when he planted his leg awkwardly during a team drill, started five games last season. He had initially not felt any soreness after the injury, only saying that the knee felt unstable. A later MRI delivered the unfortunate news, and left him sidelined with crutches for a the team’s second practice in full pads on Thursday.
“The guy has put so much heart into this,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “He’s done a great job getting in shape. He’s such a great kid and so committed to this program. It’s really unfortunate.”
Stevens, whose brother Craig is a tight end for the Tennessee Titans, was a former walk-on who eventually earned a scholarship.
Senior Will Kapp now takes over as the No. 1 fullback, with John Tyndall and Nico Dumont behind him. Kapp has played in 27 games in his career.
“All the guys are about the same as far as what they can do,” Tedford said. “You just have to get into the depth a little bit.”
—Senior left tackle Mitchell Schwartz participated more in practice and nears a full return from a minor hamstring injury.
—Steve Williams said he felt good in Thursday’s practice after sitting out much of the team’s first full session in pads on Wednesday. The sophomore cornerback tore the skin between his thumb and forefinger when his hand was caught in another player’s helmet, and required stitches.
—Defensive tackle Aaron Tipoti and freshman linebacker Jason Gibson are both still sidelined. The former is still recovering from post-concussion symptoms, while the latter has a high ankle sprain that Tedford said will keep him out “for quite a while.”
—Sophomore wide receiver Jackson Bouza’s broken finger is expected to keep him out for three weeks.