Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Although Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was never really a USC fan, he did watch them while growing up in San Clemente, Calif. In fact, two years ago as a high school senior, Wilson was at the Los Angeles Coliseum when the Trojans defeated the Utes 23-14 in the first Pac-12 game ever played.
On Saturday, he returns as Utah’s starter.
“That was definitely a really exciting game when I went last time,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to make sure that we come out with a victory this Saturday.”
With his hometown not so far away, the sophomore will have plenty of support in the stands.
“I’ve got a lot of family down there, a lot of people coming to the game,” Wilson said. “So it’s definitely going to be a great environment and I’m really excited to play down there.”
Wilson is one of 33 Californians on Utah’s roster.
SAME APPROACH: Despite Utah’s sluggish start at Arizona, Whittingham has no plans to alter the way the Utes gear up for a Pac-12 road game. They’re just 3-7 away from Rice-Eccles Stadium since joining the conference in 2011.
“We’re going to stick with the same format that’s worked for us for a lot of years,” said Whittingham, who noted that all practices will take place in Salt Lake City before the team departs for Los Angeles Friday afternoon. “We don’t see the need to change that. Now everybody that’s going on the trip has been on a trip, so the newness of that is not a factor. So, no change.”
REPORTING INJURIES: When it comes to sharing injury information during the season, Whittingham is a closed book — by choice. Since there’s no NCAA or Pac-12 policy in place, he has decided not to disclose such information. The coach, though, is open to a standardized approach if things can be put in place.
“I think that it would be nice if they did do that and everyone adhered to the same format and the same way of announcements and releases of the injury report,” Whittingham said. “But until then, we’ll just continue to not have one.”
EXTRA POINTS: Cottonwood High School graduate John Martinez is the lone player from Utah on USC’s roster. The 6-foot-2, 310-pound senior is a three-year starter for the Trojans. Sophomore punter Tom Hackett leads the Pac-12 in three categories: punt average (43.8 yards), punt inside the 20 (17) and punts of 50 yards and greater (10). Junior wide receiver Dres Anderson tops the conference in yards per reception at 20.03. Whittingham said that three or four coaches will be out recruiting high school games in the Los Angeles area Friday night. A similar amount of coaches will attend junior college games in the area on Sunday.
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