Logan • The experienced Utah State line suffered a sizeable blow in its last game.
Coach Matt Wells announced Monday that senior guard Kyle Whimpey is out for the season after tearing his patellar tendon in one of his knees against San Jose State.
It's a difficult emotional loss for the Aggies, who returned five starters on offensive line this year. Kevin Whimpey, Kyle's twin brother, starts at left tackle and the entire group is close-knit after playing together for all of last season.
Wells himself choked up talking about the injury at his Monday morning press conference.
"That's a hard deal," Wells said. "I've got a lot of respect for Kyle. You hate that for any kid: senior year, and for that to happen going into this week, it stings for him. It's real life, it's real emotions for us. We're not going to hide it. It's part of the game, we all know that, we all understand that, we all accept that. It's the reality of it that stings."
Wells said Whimpey will have surgery this week, and the team is expected to insert senior Sini Tauauve'a into the starting lineup. Tauauve'a played against San Jose State on Friday in Whimpey's place, as did Bill Vavau for stretches.
Senior right tackle Eric Schultz said the reserves should be ready to go against BYU. Still, the weight of losing a good friend on the line was hard to swallow for the unit, as well as the team.
"Right after it happened, if you came to our O-line huddle, we were quiet - it almost felt like we lost the game," Schultz said. "But we all knew that means we need to step our game up. With Sini coming in, we've practiced with Sini, he knows what he's doing, he's a good player. We didn't really lose a beat."
Chuckie Keeton talked about Whimpey after Friday's 40-12 win over San Jose State. It was definitely an emotional low point, he said, but it motivated the team to finish out the game.
"It was tough, because that's always like family," Keeton said. "Of course I've known him ever since I came here. From a distance, he kind of took me under his wing. We all have the exact same feelings about him. Whenever he went down, it was like a fallen comrade."
The Aggies didn't announce any other serious injuries Monday. Defensive end Connor Williams, who has been out with a foot injury since the game against the Utes, is day-to-day, Wells said. He said the same for running back Joe Hill, who exited the San Jose State game early.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon