Starters Kaulana Apelu and Austin Faoliu rehabbing injuries entering Saturday's game at Arizona

No. 19 Oregon’s depth on the defensive side of the ball is being tested this week.

Two of Jim Leavitt’s starters, linebacker Kaulana Apelu and defensive end Austin Faoliu, did not participate in the portion of Tuesday’s practice open to the media.

Apelu led the team with 14 tackles during last Saturday’s 34-20 loss at Washington State. Backup Isaac Slade-Matautia was set to undergo an MRI on an injured shoulder this week.

The injuries at linebacker open the door for more playing time for sophomores Keith Simms and Sampson Niu.

Simms has struggled with injuries during his career and has 24 tackles in 15 career games. Niu, who is listed as Apelu’s backup on this week’s organizational chart, has one special teams tackle this season.

True freshman Andrew Johnson has been rehabbing a high school knee injury this season but was participating in team drills Tuesday.


Faoliu did not travel to California because of an ankle injury and finished with one tackle against Washington State.

The Ducks started an extra defensive back against Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense last week instead of two defensive ends.

Drayton Carlberg is in line to replace Faoliu if the 6-foot-3, 285-pound sophomore isn’t ready to face Arizona on Saturday in Tucson.

Oregon’s first-team offensive line remained the same with Calvin Throckmorton and left tackle and Brady Aiello at right tackle. True freshman Penei Sewell, who started the first six games at left tackle, is out for about five more weeks with a high ankle sprain.

With redshirt freshman CJ Verdell nursing a hip pointer, senior Tony Brooks-James took snaps behind Justin Herbert in the No. 1 offense and true freshman Travis Dye took snaps behind Tyler Shough in the No. 2 offense.

Two graduate transfers, wide receiver Tabari Hines and tight end Kano Dillon, were rehabbing injuries and not participating in team drills.

Wide receiver Justin Collins, a walk-on who began his career at Boise State, lined up with the second-team offense.