With injuries mounting, the one thing Utah doesn’t talk about is … – 247Sports

(Photo: Rob Gray, USA TODAY Sports)

For Utah football, injuries are mounting and it’s time to give it the attention it deserves. It’s something head coach Kyle Whittingham absolutely hates talking about, so when he willingly shares that a chunk of the roster is dealing with injuries, it’s time to take a look at it. 

Kyle Whittingham estimates the Utes have 15 or 16 players standing on the sideline on game day who, if they were healthy, would make the team better.  

We’ve got conference play from here on out, starting with the Bruins next Saturday, and so we have to get better. We’ve got to get healthy. We have 15 or 16 guys that can help us win that are not available. We’ve got to start getting them back and we may have lost some more today,” Whittingham shared at his post-game press conference. 

To the best of our accounting, here is who is injured and missed games this season. 

Season Ending –  Micah Bernard

Players Yet To Play This Season  Cameron Rising, Brant Kuithe, Connor O’Toole, Simote Pepa, Johnny Maea, Brandon Rose, Dallen Bentley

Players That Have Missed Games  Junior Tafuna, Karene Reid, Mycah Pittman, Cole Becker, JaTravis Broughton, Devaughn Vele

Again, those are just the ones that have missed games, that doesn’t account for the two or three that were injured yesterday.  Coach Whittingham is never one to make excuses and he quickly reminded everyone of the mantra. “I’ve been coaching 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in that department. But it’s ‘next man up’ mentality and the guys that are getting their opportunities are making the most of them.

Considering that Utah has been led by their third and/or fourth string quarterback, as well as backups at a number of other positions, the fact Utah has wins over Florida and Baylor is pretty impressive. Pac-12 play will be a much more difficult challenge though. If health continues to be an issue, it would make an already daunting schedule much more difficult. 

“Getting our starting (defensive) tackles back, Connor O’Toole back. JT Broughton didn’t play today. We’ve got to get all our guys intact,” Whittingham said. “That’s what we’re hoping for this week, is to get a good chunk of those guys that are missing back. That’s the most important thing that could happen to make us better.”

Utah opens Pac-12 play next Saturday, Sept. 23, against No. 24 UCLA at home. The Bruins wrapped up their non-conference slate on Saturday with a 59-7 victory over North Carolina Central. In the first quarter, UCLA scored 35 points and averaged 21.5 yards per play.

The Utes do welcome the Bruins to the comfy confines of Rice-Eccles Stadium, which has proven to be one of the toughest places to play in college football. The belief is that there will be a number of guys back in action that were missing against Weber State. Exactly how many return remains unclear but it seems four or five is likely, with a decent chance of that number approaching seven or eight, and maybe a couple more if certain things go their way. 

Utah absolutely needs to get healthy to maintain their chances at a third-straight Pac-12 title. The Utes face arguably the most difficult Pac-12 schedule this year, so depth will be important. If Utah can start to get back a lot of these key contributors, it seems Utah would be in better shape as guys filling in have benefitted from the opportunities they’ve had through these first three games. 

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