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Utes football: Utah quarterback Travis Wilson is back, but tight end Jake Murphy is out

Published: Thursday, July 2 2015 6:51 a.m. MDT

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson delivers a pass in the second half of a game against UCLA at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Thursday, October 3, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah quarterback Travis Wilson delivers a pass in the second half of a game against UCLA at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Thursday, October 3, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah quarterback Travis Wilson returned to practice Tuesday, bouncing back from an illness that he said has lingered on for a little bit.

“I was just kind of getting over the flu over the weekend,” he said. “But I’m feeling a lot better.”

Wilson, who acknowledged being “definitely under the weather” when he missed practice Monday, downplayed the impact his illness had in last Thursday’s 34-27 loss to UCLA. He threw six interceptions.

“I felt fine during the game and I don’t think it affected me at all,” Wilson said. “It just kind of lingered on throughout the weekend and stuff.”

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham noted that Wilson looked good in his return to the field. He said that Wilson will be — without a doubt — the starter Saturday against Stanford unless something unforeseen happens.

Utah's Jake Murphy fights for yardage downfield while being tackled by Oregon State's Malcolm Marable during the first half of a game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013.  (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah's Jake Murphy fights for yardage downfield while being tackled by Oregon State's Malcolm Marable during the first half of a game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

“He’s got some things to clean up, as we all do,” Whittingham said. “It was his first day with the scheme for this game, so it’ll be cleaner tomorrow. It needs to be cleaner tomorrow.”

Wilson expects all will be well by game time.

“I already feel a lot better today and by Saturday I’ll be really good to go,” he said.

MURPHY SIDELINED: Whittingham confirmed on his radio show that tight end Jake Murphy will most likely be out for the rest of the season after having surgery on a broken wrist Monday.

The junior, who is fifth on the team with 10 receptions this season, sent a Twitter message out to Utah fans later in the day.

“I want to thank everyone for the tweets about my wrist. Means so much,” it read. “I will be hungrier than ever. There's always a silver lining.”

Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham is upset with a call in the second half of a game against UCLA at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Thursday, October 3, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham is upset with a call in the second half of a game against UCLA at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Thursday, October 3, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

Murphy later added: “Everyone needs to know. ... The Utes will keep grinding and being tough. I promise this is the toughest/closest team I've ever been on.”

With Murphy out and the status of co-starter Westlee Tonga uncertain — the senior missed the UCLA game with an undisclosed injury — the Utes are turning to other tight ends.

Whittingham identified freshman Siale Fakailoatonga and junior college transfers Greg Reese and Evan Moeai as the next guys up. “

“We’ve got to adjust,” Whittingham said before reeling off the names. “That’s the nature of the game. You’ve just got to move forward and go with the guys that are healthy.”

EXTRA POINTS: Utah and Stanford share the Pac-12 lead in red zone offense with 94.4 percent success. ... The Utes lead the nation in fewest fumbles lost with one. ...There are still some bleacher seats and standing-room-only tickets remaining for Saturday’s game. ... Sophomore LT Filiaga has switched positions — going from linebacker to defensive end. ... Starting linemen Jeremiah Poutasi, Jeremiah Tofaeono, Vyncent Jones, Junior Salt and Siaosi Aiono have been on the field for every offensive snap over the past three games.

Email: dirk@desnews.com Twitter: @DirkFacer

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