Utah’s secondary was picked apart by the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, but coach Kyle Whittingham still found something positive in the play of senior Keith McGill.
McGill, who is tied for the Pac-12 lead in pass breakups (10) and is tied for fourth in passes defended (11), has exceeded expectations this year, Whittingham said.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound McGill was moved from safety to corner for the 2013 season.
"We knew he was going to be good but he has played exceptionally well," Whittingham said.
McGill has one of the team’s two interceptions, returning an interception 19 yards for a touchdown against UCLA and has 31 tackles. He has been invited to play in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan 25.
Whittingham believes that McGill has done well enough to have a shot at playing at the pro ranks, stating that corners are in high demand.
On a positive note
Tight end Jake Murphy continues to be one of the bright spots for the offense as he finished with a career-high 102 yards against the Cougars in just his second game since returning from a wrist injury.
"He’s still not able to use his wrist like you normally would see in a game," Whittingham said. "But he has been a real weapon for us."
Back in the lineup
Whittingham is hopeful corner Davion Orphey, who didn’t travel to WSU due to injury, can play against Colorado.
Orphey has 28 tackles and three pass breakups this year. Redshirt freshman Justin Thomas will start against Colorado if Orphey can’t play.
Thomas had a career high seven tackles against WSU.
Whittingham did not provide an injury update for linebacker Jared Norris, who has missed the last two games with an injury.
Slipping in sacks
Failing to record a sack against WSU dropped the Utes a notch in the national rankings. The Utes, who led the category last week with 36, are tied with Ohio State for second. Louisville leads the category with 38 sacks.
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