Tape It Up: Utah: Injury Roll Call

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Utah: Injury Roll Call

Utah's injury report is reading more like a novel every week, but after thrashing then-No. 11 UCLA 44-6 last week without the team's starting quarterback or running back, among other producers, the growing list of injuries is now something head coach Kyle Whittingham can grin and bear, rather than grimace and bemoan.

The Utah coach is in no hurry to pick a signal caller for Saturday's matchup with UNLV, since his backups put together head-turning performances against UCLA. Starting quarterback Brian Johnson has been out since separating his shoulder in the season opener three weeks ago, but started throwing again during Monday's practice. Johnson is about 80 percent healthy, according to WIttingham, and the coach will not put him in until he reaches 90. Trying to balance caution with undue paranoia, Wittingham is listening to doctors and trainers while trying to figure out who is man under center will be, but has no problem leaving UNLV with three names to prepare for.

Johnson believes he can be ready by Saturday, but senior Tommy Grady and freshman Corbin Louks are both ready to step up at quarterback as they did last week. Louks plays a similar style to Johnson and Wittingham plans to include him in every week's game plans, but the coach also said he has more confidence in Grady than ever after Saturday's win -- the senior completed 17 of 30 pass attempts for 246 yards and three touchdowns in the win. He completed seven passes in the entire 2006 season.

As Johnson starts making his comeback, other players are still working on theirs. Junior offensive tackle Corey Seiuli sprained his ankle on Saturday and was held out of practice on Monday, but hopes to return by the end of the week.

Backup tight end Colt Sampson has spent the last few weeks recovering from a sprained MCL and remains questionable for Saturday's game. The junior was expected to return this week, but his recuperation has been slower than expected, as soreness and stiffness in his knees have replaced the pain of the MCL injury. His status may change as the week progresses.

Still, if Utah could dismantle the nation's No. 11 team using a fleet of backups, maybe they ought to keep doing what they're doing and use the backup guys. Here's to the no-names making mincemeat of big names out in Utah.

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