University of Toledo senior cornerback Cameron Cole is out for the Missouri game on Saturday and possibly done for the year, UT coach Matt Campbell said on Monday.
Cole sprained his ankle during the first week of the summer practice period, but he returned in time to play in the Rockets' season-opening game against New Hampshire, though he did not start. In the second half, Cole injured his knee and had to be helped off the field. He couldn't put weight on his leg — the same leg with the sprained ankle — and he was carted to the locker room shortly thereafter.
Campbell said nothing is official, though the prognosis on Cole isn't good.
“Right now, Cam is definitely out for this football game,” Campbell said. “I think whether he'll be back this season at all, we'll probably know midweek of this week.”
Cole, who graduated from LaSalle High School in Cincinnati, started in eight games in 2013 and played in all 12. He made 37 tackles and was in contention to be a starter for the Rockets this season.
If Cole is indeed out for the season, UT could apply for, and likely would be granted, a medical redshirt.
For the Rockets' prospects this season, however, Cole's injury is a big blow. UT was 10th in the Mid-American Conference last season in passing yards allowed, and its ranks have thinned since July.
Cheatham Norrils, a St. John's Jesuit grad and UT's projected No. 1 cornerback, was hospitalized with a viral infection in July. Norrils lost more than 20 pounds during the episode and still has not been cleared to practice or lift weights. Campbell said last week that Norrils is not close to returning, and the prospect of redshirting the senior seems more likely by the week.
Toledo will play No. 24 Missouri — the best opponent on its regular-season schedule — without two of its top three cornerbacks.
Campbell said Cole's initial injury and Norrils' inability to participate in camp allowed other players to see playing time that they would not have received otherwise.
“Cam's been out the last two-and-a-half weeks of camp with an ankle injury, so we've been able to get some guys in,” Campbell said. “Some of our young guys were able to roll through.”
Juwan Haynes and Christian Dukes started against New Hampshire. Trayvon Mathis saw a lot of action, as well, and Delando Johnson had an interception.
Campbell said whomever is on the field will be counted on to play well.
“We're just going to have to continue to roll,” Campbell said. “Right now, we have a good rotation at that defensive back spot, at the corner spot with Juwan Haynes and Trayvon Mathis.
“To me, those guys gotta step up. It's kinda always been that philosophy here, is next man up.”