SALT LAKE CITY — Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was back on the field Tuesday, wearing a glove to protect the sprained right index finger on his throwing hand that led to his early exit from last Saturday’s 35-24 loss at Arizona.
“It went great today. It wasn’t really affecting any of my throws,” Wilson said. “I still felt like I was throwing the ball really well. But it’s still something I’ve got to get used to.
Wilson, who acknowledged that his right hand has been pretty banged up the last couple of games, vows to be the starter when the Utes take on USC Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“I have no doubt,” he said. “I’m going to play through whatever pain I have and I’m going to stick it out and I’ll be ready to go by Saturday.”
Although Wilson admitted the finger was still a little sore and tender after practice, he expects it to be a lot better by game time — same goes for other parts of his hand that he said was “busted up” and had a lot of cuts on it.
“Saturday the big issue was gripping the ball, I couldn’t really grip the ball with my finger,” Wilson said. “I got a lot of treatment done. I got a lot of things done and it’s coming along really well.”
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is optimistic about the progress as well.
“I’m thinking he’s going to be ready and he did some good things today,” Whittingham said. “We’ve still got four full days, and so I’m going to say we’re pretty confident that Travis will be our quarterback on Saturday.”
Wilson left the Arizona game late in the second quarter after completing 3-of-9 passes for 15 yards. He was intercepted twice and threw one touchdown pass.
Backup Adam Schulz had 142 yards passing, including a 55-yard touchdown throw, in relief.
“It was definitely really frustrating,” Wilson said. “I felt like I kind of let my team down.”
As such, Wilson added that he’s determined to prove something this weekend — starting with answering the bell.
“I’ll be 100 percent,” he said. “I’m going to start on Saturday and I’m going to make sure my whole body is healthy by Saturday.”
Wilson is wearing a regular receiver glove that has a little extra grip on it in practice this week. He said it felt great on Tuesday, but admits it’ll take some time to get used to it.
“I’m going to suck it up. I’m going to play,” Wilson continued. “I’m going to do the best I can for this team. I’m going to make all the smart decisions I can.”
Wilson, Schulz and true freshman Conner Manning, who the Utes hope to redshirt, all took reps in practice on Tuesday.
“You’ve got to have the other guys ready in case Travis can’t go. So we’ll continue to split the reps up as we see fit,” Whittingham said. “But as of this moment, I’m going to be optimistic and say Travis is a go.”
BACK TO WORK: Whittingham said Tuesday’s practice was “really good.” He noted that they had a good team meeting on Monday and talked about their deficiencies in the loss at Arizona.
“It’s not panic mode,” Whittingham said. “We took the lead 21-20 in the second half and really we’re close to taking control of the game.”
Whittingham added that the Utes are paying attention to details, continuing to prepare the right way, staying focused and keeping a great attitude.
“All indications are that has happened,” he said.
STILL KICKING: After making the first 11 field goals he attempted in his football career, freshman Andy Phillips missed a 42-yard attempt at the end of the first half Saturday night in Tucson. Although disappointed, the snapping of the streak didn’t devastate the freshman.
“I’ve missed many in practice. It’s just part of the game,” Phillips said. “It was bound to happen some time. I just overcooked it a little bit, just got a little amped up.”
Phillips bounced back to make a 44-yarder in the fourth quarter, but missed a 40-yard attempt later in the game.
In reflecting over the weekend, Phillips said he learned so much playing at home and also learned a lot in his first away game outside the state.
“I took a lot from it and will make the appropriate adjustments moving forward,” he explained, adding his confidence that everything will be just fine.
Whittingham also predicts that Phillips will get back on track this week.
“Andy’s a tough kid, and it’s unfortunate we missed those two kicks,” Whittingham said. “But if you would have told me at the beginning of the year, he’s going to make 12 of his first 14 kicks, I think we all would have taken that, and so that’s where he is right now.”
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DirkFacer
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company