USC’s starting lineup has been hit with several injuries this year, leaving the Trojans extremely thin at several key positions, including tight end and running back.
However, the Trojans shouldn’t expect much sympathy out of the Utes, who are dealing with their own injury issues.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham voiced little tolerance for teams that play the injury card when asked about the situation on Wednesday.
"There is no sympathy from me or anyone else, and we don’t expect sympathy from anyone else," he said. "I can’t stand when people, not that they are, crying about injuries. That is just part of the game. We have six or seven guys out who are starters, and I am sure they do too. Pretty much everyone in the country does."
Notable players sidelined with injuries for the Utes are tight ends Westlee Tonga and Jake Murphy, linebackers Jacoby Hale and Brian Blechen and receiver Kenneth Scott. Quarterback Travis Wilson is hopeful he can play with an injured hand.
The Trojans announced Wednesday that starting linebacker Lamar Dawson and tailback Justin Davis are out for the season with injuries.
Davis is just the latest running back to suffer an injury.
Last year’s leading rusher, Silas Redd, missed most of the first half of the season with a knee injury, then his replacement, Tre Madden, missed the Notre Dame game with a hamstring injury.
Redd had 19 carries for 112 yards against the Irish while Madden has 115 carries for 611 yards on the season.
USC interim coach Ed Orgeron is hopeful Madden can play Saturday.
USC tight ends Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer were also hurt in the USC game and aren’t expected to play against the Utes, leaving sophomore Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick as the only healthy tight end on scholarship.
Short memory is good
Utah kicker Andy Phillips, who saw his streak of successful kicks end at Arizona when he missed from 42 and 40 yards out, said he’ll be ready if called upon to kick against USC.
Phillips, who is 12 of 14 on the season, said he knew kicking at Arizona in his first real away game would be a challenge and he simply kicked the ball too hard.
"Naturally, as a right-footed kicker, you pull the ball to the left," he said. "So I haven’t made any huge adjustments because I don’t feel like I was kicking the ball poorly."
Recent kickers have gone on a downhill slide after failed attempts, but Phillips is convinced that won’t happen to him.
"Like [punter] Tom Hackett says, you have to have the memory of a goldfish as a kicker," Phillips said. "It’s so true because no matter what, if you make or miss a kick, you go into the next one with the same mentality. It’s what I have practiced and what I learned in skiing. For sure, if you go into a ski race with no confidence because you blew out the first day or first run, then you are done from the get-go."
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