Cincinnati Football: Injury report as Jabari Taylor hopes to return against Navy

Tai Lavatai of the Navy Midshipmen options the ball in the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Getty Images.
Tai Lavatai of the Navy Midshipmen options the ball in the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Getty Images. /
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Jabari Taylor’s absence was a factor in Cincinnati’s defense struggling to stop the run in the loss at UCF last week. The graduate defensive end is hoping to return against Navy on Saturday but is questionable with a hamstring injury for a second straight week.

In the win at SMU a few weeks ago, Taylor went down with a hamstring injury and was unable to play at week. Cincinnati’s rush defense isn’t nearly as effective without Taylor, especially since Malik Vann is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Vann suffered a pectoral injury in September and could be out for the year. The offensive line took a major hit when junior center Jake Renfro suffered a season-ending knee injury and now the defensive line could be in trouble moving forward as well.

Ohio State transfer Noah Potter started a week ago and played well but depth will be a concern if Taylor isn’t able to play against Navy. Prior to the hamstring injury, Taylor led the way to a 31-21 win at Tulsa last month with 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Cincinnati Football: Injury report as Jabari Taylor hopes to return against Navy

Navy is dealing with significant injury problems too after starting quarterback Tai Lavatai suffered a season-ending knee injury. Back up Xavier Arline replaced Lavatai and went onto score the game-winning touchdown run to beat Temple last week.

Arline has several years of experience so he should be able to step in and be relatively productive so Cincinnati must remain in sync against Navy’s triple-option. The junior quarterback is averaging 4.0 yards per carry with 104 yards in five games this season.

Both teams are going to be without key contributors but the Bearcats could have Taylor if he is cleared to play by Saturday. During a weekly press conference, Luke Fickell discussed how the defense has to step up without Taylor and Vann via Cincinnati Athletics.

"“That’s where some of the depth has been a challenge. You have two guys who have played a lot of football for you. Obviously Malik going out in game two and Jabari being out for the last two games basically. It puts a little strain but that’s where you talk about those younger guys. Noah Potter, Justin Wodtly and some of those guys really have to step up and fill a bigger role. That’s what they have to do and are expected to do. They’re growing but that’s where some of the wearing down probably hurt us a bit. I don’t think UCF did a whole lot different. In some games, it’s been really good and others have been bad. That’s where we have to do a better job with consistency.”"

Next. Cincinnati Football: Bearcats aim for third straight win over Midshipmen. dark