Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is always one to find the positives in difficult situations, but it was difficult for him to find much to be happy about in discussing Utah’s tight end position.
Whittingham learned Tuesday evening Jake Murphy is likely done for the year following surgery to repair his broken wrist.
Murphy ranks fifth on the team in catches (10) and fourth in receiving yards (179).
With senior Westlee Tonga also sidelined, Whittingham said freshman Siale Fakailoatonga, who has two catches for 18 yards, and JC transfer Greg Reese would get snaps with the first team.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Fakailoatonga, a walk-on out of Cottonwood H.S., is a player with a "bright future," Whittingham said.
"He makes some freshman mistakes in practice and does not have a lot of reps in games, but we have confidence in him and he’s going to go this week," he said.
Still, it will be difficult for the Utes to make up for Murphy’s experience, not that the Utes have any choice.
"They have to step up and pick up the slack," Whittingham said. "That is the nature of the game. You have to go with the guys who are healthy."
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson said he was feeling better after battling an illness all weekend. More concerning than his health was preparing for Stanford’s defense.
"They have a good defense that is very aggressive so we definitely will have our hands full," he said.
The Pac-12 normally releases kickoff times on Mondays for games scheduled in the next week.
However, no game times have been announced for the Oct. 19 weekend, including Utah’s game at Arizona.
According to Pac-12 officials, the league is "working through some contractual issues," with the television partners and hopes to get the selections later this week.
On a rantNext Page >
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.