Utah football notes: Wilson’s focus off his hand, on ASU
By Lya Wodraska
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Nov 04 2013 03:51PM
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson is more focused on getting Utah’s offense back on track than he is the health of his hand. And that’s a promising sign.
Wilson, who has struggled in the last two games after injuring his hand, said his sprained index finger is close to being 100 percent.
The cuts and gashes on his hand are healed as well, to the point he won’t wear a glove when the Utes play ASU on Saturday.
Looking back on his recent struggles, Wilson said he believes his hand injury played a part in his mistakes, but all those interceptions were as much mental too.
"It was me not making smart decisions," he said. "I have to make sure when I am throwing it and where. I have to keep it on track."
The sophomore is well aware of ASU’s potent offense and agreed with coach Kyle Whittingham’s assessment that the best defense is a good offense.
"We have to make sure we have more possessions of the football and keep on moving the chains and get down field," he said.
Whittingham opened his press conference Monday by expressing condolences to former Utah players Matt and Shawn Asiata, whose father, Pita, was killed Friday in an accident on Interstate 80. The tour bus Pita Asiata was driving collided with a utility truck.
Whittingham said he attended the funeral Monday.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Asiata family," Whittingham said. It was a horrible thing."
Matt Asiata is now a running back with the Minnesota Vikings.
Whittingham said tight end Westlee Tonga, who has missed the last four games with a knee injury, isn’t expected to play Saturday based on the report Whittingham saw Monday morning.
The absence of Tonga and fellow tight end Jake Murphy has been cited as one of the big reasons Utah’s offense has struggled.
Murphy suffered a season-ending wrist injury against UCLA.
Up for award
Utah kicker Andy Phillips is among the 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza award, which goes to the best kicker in the nation.
Phillips is 13-of-16 on the season and is 6-of-8 from 40 yards and out. He is 30-of-30 on PATs.
The finalists will be announced on Nov. 25 and the winner will be announced on Dec. 12.
Utah’s game against Oregon on Nov. 16 is on a six-day window, so the Utes may not find out when kickoff is until next Monday. The mountain time options are a kickoff of 6 p.m. on ABC, or 1:30 p.m. on FOX or Fox Sports 1 at 2 p.m.