Early in the season, linebacker Anthony Davis looked like a strong candidate for Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Western Athletic Conference, but since then injuries have cut his playing time and statistics drastically.
Through the first five games of the season, Davis had 56 tackles and eight tackles for loss. In the three games since then, he has made five tackles and no tackles for loss. He missed one of those games completely, and played sparingly in the other two because of a sprained ankle and a sprained wrist.He is listed as probable for Saturday's San Diego State game.
THE QB SHUFFLE (CONT.): Reserve quarterback Jason Woods, who has a chipped bone in his throwing hand, might have been called on to relieve Mike Richmond during last week's Air Force debacle, but Utah coaches were uncertain if his hand was ready for action.
"That's the question we asked ourselves," says Coach Ron McBride. "(Offensive coordinator) Dan Henson questioned whether he could play. Jason thinks he can."
McBride hinted that the Utes might make yet another change at quarterback this week. "We'll see how they do in practice," said McBride. "Obviously, Mike didn't do a good job last week." On the other hand, Woods made an equally poor showing against UTEP the previous week.
Both quarterbacks have started four games this season. Richmond has completed 56 percent of his passes (117 of 208) for 1,521 yards, 5 TDs and 11 interceptions. Woods has completed 45 percent of his passes (37 of 82) for 637 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions.
One wonders if next year's starting quarterback isn't standing on the sidelines. Frank Dolce, a junior college transfer, is redshirting the season. "He's the only one of the three who had a redshirt year, so it was logical to redshirt him and play the other two," says McBride. "Anyway Jason seemed to have the job locked up through spring and fall."
BYE BYE: Wide receiver Khevin Pratt has left the team. "He wants to catch the ball more, but he doesn't want to spend the time learning the position," says McBride. Pratt, an outstanding receiver and sprinter at El Camino Junior College last year, caught 3 passes for 63 yards and returned one punt for 2 yards this season.
POSITION CHANGE: With starting fullback Dean Witkin sidelined with a concussion last week, the Utes moved halfback Steve Abrams to fullback against Air Force and played freshman Brad Foster at halfback.
"It was just a way to get two good backs in the game at the same time," says McBride.
Abrams, who lost his starting halfback job to Foster after sitting out several games with a muscle pull, rushed for 60 of Utah's 69 net yards. He might play both the halfback and fullback positions this week.
NUMBERS: Wide receiver Bryan Rowley has 21 catches for 546 yards and 3 touchdowns. He's averaging 26 yards per catch, which puts him within reach of the NCAA record of 27.9 set by Houston's Elmo Wright. Rowley, who caught 10 passes last week, must catch at least 30 passes this season to qualify for the record.