At this rate, Utah Catzz coach Gordon Hudson should be prepared to strap on a helmet and resurrect his football career.
The former BYU star, whose days as an NFL tight end were cut short by an injury, has seen a slew of his players go down with injuries the first few weeks of season. As a result, he's been searching for replacements.The Catzz had a bye last weekend, and considering the bad breaks - literally - they've been dealt lately, it came none too soon.
Utah (2-0) will return to action tonight at 8:30 as it hosts the Madison Mad Dogs (1-2) at UVSC's McKay Events Center.
Two weeks ago against the Colorado Wildcats, quarterback Paul Shoe-maker suffered a concussion on Utah's first offensive series and did not return to the game. In the fourth quarter, Tyler Anderson had his wrist shattered when a Wildcat defender slammed the receiver into the dasher board. Surgeons later implanted metal plates into Anderson's wrist and he will miss the remainder of the season. Hudson says Anderson's career could be over.
Same goes for 6-foot-8 offensive lineman Will Knight, who dislocated his knee against the Texas Bullets on April 18. Defensive back Melvin Maxwell, meanwhile, broke his ankle and had pins inserted in his foot.
"It's a war of attrition out there," Hudson said. "I just hope we can stay healthy."
The good news for Utah is Shoemaker will return to the starting lineup and defensive back Artis Jack-son will play tonight after sitting out the past two games with a bad hamstring.
Hudson is counting on the Catzz to rebound tonight following a sluggish performance in their last outing, against Colorado, which had a bizarre ending. Or rather, a non-ending.
Utah's Doug Beach had his potential game-winning, 50-yard field goal blocked in the waning seconds of the contest and it appeared the Catzz had lost, 29-27. But Colorado's Damon Jackson had run outside the offensive tackle, which is illegal according to PIFL rules, to make the block.
While the Catzz protested, the officials allowed the play to stand. Days later, league commissioner Dick Suess overruled the call, meaning that when the two teams meet in Orem on May 23, the Catzz will have the ball first-and-10 on the Wildcats' 21-yard line with nine seconds remaining.
"It was a blatant infraction," Hudson said. "But I never expected the commissioner to reverse the decision. We still consider that game a loss. In my mind, we're 2-1."
Tonight's kickoff is scheduled for an hour-and-a-half later than usual because the state Republican nominating convention will be held at the McKay Events Center Saturday morning.