Depth can be a fleeting thing for a college football team.
Take the University of Utah.
Three weeks ago, coach Kyle Whittingham had so many running backs that it was difficult getting them all into a game.
Senior Matt Asiata , the Mountain West Conference's leading rusher, is gone for the season after suffering a knee injury during the first quarter of Saturday's 30-14 victory over Louisville.
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Sausan Shakerin continues to struggle with a wrist injury. He remains questionable for Utah's game Oct. 10 at Colorado State.
The injuries leave Whittingham with one running back, Eddie Wide . That's why receiver Shaky Smithson will be getting work at a new position during the Utes' bye week.
"He sure will," Whittingham confirmed Tuesday. "Part-time receiver, part-time running back. ... We're a little thin at that position right now and Shaky gives is more depth. He has the instincts and attributes to play the position."
As a receiver, Smithson has caught nine passes in the first four games, including eight in the last two against Oregon and Louisville.
He sounds ready for the challenge of splitting time between receiver and running back.
"I look forward it," he said. "I don't look forward happening it like this. I'd rather have Matt playing and me doing what I was doing than having to step in like this. But that's football.
"[If] somebody goes down, somebody else has to step in, and I'll do the best I can. I've played running back, quarterback, receiver -- every position growing up -- so I feel comfortable doing it."
Beadles OK after freak play
Senior offensive tackle Zane Beadles , who suffered a deep laceration on his leg against Louisville, is improving and expects to play against Colorado State.
When it happened, nobody was exactly sure what happened to Beadles, who said after practice Tuesday, "I think it was a linebacker's cleat. He got cut [blocked] on that play ... and kind of whipped his leg around and caught me in the shin."
Beadles did not return.
"From everything I've heard, not a lot of people have seen anything like that," he said. "It was just a freak thing that happened. But I feel good. If we had to play this week, I'd be able to play. But we're going to take it slow and be smart about it and make sure we don't get an infection going or anything."
Said Whittingham: "It was a nasty laceration, but it's all stitched up and he'll be ready" to play at Colorado State.
Saturday, Oct. 10
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