Utah football: Utes turn to freshman to fill in gap at TE
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 rant
Stanford coach David Shaw provided one of the more entertaining moments on the Pac-12 teleconference on Tuesday when he ripped Washington coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff for accusing the Cardinal of faking injuries in Stanford's 31-28 win Saturday.
Sarkisian said in postgame interviews the Cardinal players were faking injuries to slow down the Huskies' up-tempo offense on the final drive.
On Tuesday, Shaw opened his segment with a statement, calling Sarkisian's comments "unprofessional," and stating Stanford never has and never will fake injuries.
Shaw did get around to talking about his team's matchup with the Utes once his rant over Washington ended.
He said he felt Utah's offense, which ranks 25th nationally averaging 39 points a game, is dangerous when the Utes aren't committing turnovers.
Shaw said he has watched Wilson develop since he was in high school and liked how he was not only mobile but could stand in the pocket and "make NFL throws."
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