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Utah football: Utes hope to keep freshman QB on sidelines

Published November 18, 2013 11:39 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Even though freshman Conner Manning has moved up to the No. 2 spot on the quarterback depth chart with the season-ending condition to Travis Wilson, the Utes will do their best to redshirt Manning, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

Manning won't play in Utah's final two games unless he is absolutely needed, Wilson said.

Even if sophomore Adam Schulz struggles, the Utes would hesitate to use the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Manning.

"We wouldn't foresee doing that for the last two games," Whittingham said.

Wilson has beaten out fellow freshman Brandon Cox in the quarterback race because he has such an accurate arm. He doesn't have as much mobility or arm strength as some of the other quarterbacks, Whittingham said, but he makes good decisions.

"If he is pressed into duty I think he would handle it well," Whittingham said.

However, the Utes will try to avoid having him play and even have a contingency play if Schulz has to sit out a play or two, Whittingham said.

"If unforeseen things happen, then we'd make a decisions," Whittingham said. "We thought we were set before, but obviously these are unforeseen circumstances too."

Another year: As per his contract, Washington State coach Mike Leach received on Monday a 1-year extension on his contract, extending it through 2018.

Leach, who is 8-14 as the Cougars' head coach, is to receive a 1-year extension each year by the conclusion of every season, giving him a continual 5-year deal.

This year, Leach has the Cougars (5-5, 3-4) within one victory of being bowl eligible for the first time since 2003 after the Cougars upset Arizona 24-17 on Saturday.

Of note: The Nov. 30 game between Utah-Colorado will kick off at 12:00 pm MT. TV is the Pac-12 Networks. Utah is 2-3 in afternoon games this year...Utah leads the nation in sacks (36)...Senior corner Keith McGill leads the Pac-12 in pass breakups with 12.