Shoulder surgery to end Utah safety Keith McGill's season
Utah's list of serious injuries continues to lengthen, with the Utes announcing Monday that safety Keith McGill will have surgery Thursday to repair his shoulder.
McGill injured his shoulder in Utah's loss to Arizona State.
McGill, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior, was replaced by Brian Blechen in the lineup. Blechen, who played safety as a freshman, was switched to linebacker for the 2011 season because he put on so much muscle in the offseason that the Utes thought the 6-2, 230-pound sophomore would be too slow to play safety.
However, he has been playing both positions due to injuries in Utah's secondary and will continue to do so in McGill's absence, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
He is listed as the co-starter at strong safety this week along with sophomore Michael Walker.
"That will be his role from here on out," Whittingham said. "He can play both positions like Trevor Reilly can play both defensive end and linebacker."
McGill is the fourth player to suffer a season-ending injury this year, joining quarterback Jordan Wynn (shoulder), punt returner Charles Henderson (knee) and fullback/tight end Dallin Rogers (knee).
McGill had 12 tackles and one pass breakup in his five games.
Being 'dirty' not a bad thing
Whittingham declined to comment on accusations from Pitt defender Chas Alecxih, who said the Utes were dirty players, particularly lineman John Cullen, who was tagged with a personal foul Saturday.
But offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom said he could understand why Alecxih said what he said.
"When we get accused of that, honestly, in my mind I think, OK great, our guys are finishing plays," Bergstrom said. "They are going to the whistle and that is awesome, and I get fired up with that, but I can understand in his mind where he thinks that. It is perfectly fine. I am not offended, he can't offend me."
Whittingham said the Utes pursued Cal running back Isi Sofele, a Cottonwood High School grad who is averaging 90.5 yards a game for the Bears.
"He wasn't ready to make a decision and we filled up before he decided where he was going to go but we liked him," he said. "He is a versatile player. If he wasn't at running back he could be a defensive back."
Utah defensive end Derrick Shelby and kicker Coleman Petersen were named Pac-12 Players of the Week. Shelby earlier was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Defensive Player of the Week.
Shelby had seven tackles, including six solo tackles, and a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Utes' 26-14 win over Pitt.
Petersen made field goals of 23, 34, 39 and 45 yards, tying the school record for the second most in a game. The 45-yarder was a career long and with his two PATs, Petersen accounted for 14 of Utah's points.
Whittingham praised both players during his news conference Monday and said Shelby has played his best game for the past three weeks in row.
"He has gotten better as the weeks go by," Whittingham said.