After Ashley Postell fell off the uneven bars for the second straight meet, Utah coach Greg Marsden walked up behind her and whispered in her ear that no matter what she does, he isn't taking her out of the bars lineup, her least favorite event.
Marsden said it to her in jest to lighten the mood of his visibly upset star sophomore at Washington on Friday, but there is a lot of truth to it too.
The bars are the Utes' weakest in terms of depth, and Marsden doesn't have anyone else to turn to who has the potential to get the big scores like Postell does.
"That's where losing Rachel [Tidd] hurt us the most," he said of the recently retired gymnast.
Marsden though, isn't panicking over Postell's struggles just yet. Postell missed eight weeks of practice because of an injured elbow, and has had just seven practice days since Christmas.
"She could do some things on other events, but bars is going to be the hardest for her to come back on," he said. "It's remarkable what she has been able to do on the other events."
Postell unveiled a new vault in Friday's win against the Huskies, throwing a Yurchenko half on, front pike, half twist off. She is one of the few in the country who perform the vault, and started practicing it in the offseason as a way to challenge herself.
"I was bored," she said. "Before workouts started, I just started messing around with the vault. I used to do it in elites. I was surprised how easily it came back to me."
Postell scored a 9.9 and plans to use the vault for the rest of the season.
The injury to Nicolle Ford's right wrist is more troubling than first thought. The junior underwent an MRI exam, which failed to reveal the source of the pain.
It might still be a bone bruise, which usually shows up on the exam.
Ford scored a 9.9 on the bars and a 9.85 on the balance beam against the Huskies and didn't compete on the other events, as Marsden took the opportunity to get others in the lineup.
"It's not getting any better and it's not getting any worse," Marsden said. "She's had to change her dismount on beam, and it may take it longer to get better than we initially thought."
In the polls
Because the rankings are still based on season high, the Utes continued to slip despite their undefeated record. Utah falls from fourth to sixth and Utah State checks in at No. 22. Nebraska, Utah's opponent Friday, is tied with Michigan for fourth.
A look ahead
Southern Utah opens the season Friday at Oklahoma, and BYU is at Utah State on Friday. The Aggies are led by Jessica Parenti, who has won the all-around in Utah State's first two meets. Utah State will be without Jackie Fogli, who has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in her ankle. BYU scored a 190.075 in its season opener at Oregon State. The Cougars topped Utah State 194.125-190.6 last season in Logan.
Rank Team High
1. Alabama 196.150
2. Florida 195.900
3. Georgia 195.825
4t. Michigan 195.675
4t. Nebraska 195.675
6. Utah 195.625
7. Auburn 195.300
8. Missouri 195.100
9. Stanford 194.950
10. Penn State 194.875
11. Arizona 194.350
12. Kentucky 194.150
13. Iowa State 194.100
14. LSU 193.900
15t. Denver 193.850
15t. UCLA 193.850
17. Michigan State 193.550
18t. Oklahoma 193.325
18t. Washington 193.325
20. Arizona State 193.150
21. Minnesota 192.900
22. Utah State 192.875
23. North Carolina 192.475
24. Arkansas 192.225
25. Oregon State 192.200