Running back Matt Asiata's mild ankle sprain is taking a little longer than anticipated to heal. The junior will be sidelined for a couple of days for precautionary reasons.
Asiata, who is in a spirited competition with Darrell Mack for the starting tailback job, suffered the injury on Saturday. He completed practice in the morning, but it stiffened up before the afternoon session.
"We were hoping to have him back today or tomorrow but it looks more like mid-week to the end of the week," Whittingham said. "It's not a big deal. But if it lingers on much more beyond the next couple of days then it could become a factor."
Asiata has an inside ankle sprain, which usually takes a little longer than an outside twist to heal. Whittingham is hopeful Asiata will be back on the field by Friday at the latest.
"Everything's magnified in camp because you've got two-a-days," Whittingham said. "Everything seems longer than it actually is."
Asiata's career at Utah has been plagued by what Whittingham calls "fluke things." A sprained arch in his foot slowed Asiata in
last year's camp. Then came a season-ending broken leg in the season-opening loss at Oregon State.
Neither of the previous injuries, however, are related to the new one which Whittingham insists is minor.
"This is a simple ankle sprain," he said. "But you've got to get back on the field. That's the bottom line."
NEW CAMP HOME: After six days on the practice fields, Utah's camp has moved across the street to Ute Field. The baseball complex has become a traditional locale to preserve the grass at the football facility for practices during the season.
Whittingham was pleased with what he saw after a day of rest. As usual, the Utes did not practice on Sunday.
"The day off did them good, a world of good," Whittingham said. "They had fresh legs today and it was a very good practice."
ODD TIMES: You'd think they could start on the hour or half hour, but Utah's football practices usually start at odd times.
Last week, practices began at 8:55 or 9:10 a.m. with the afternoon practice starting at 4:50 p.m. This week the morning practices start at 9, but the afternoon sessions begin at 4:55 and go until 6:25 p.m. Next week, who knows?
Whittingham said every minute of the day is accounted for as far as the football team is concerned.
"We're not concerned about even numbers," he said. "It never fits into that schedule."
NOT YET: The topic of whether or not someone will redshirt isn't even being discussed by the Utah coaching staff as camp enters its second week.
"Anyone that can help us win in any capacity is playing," Whittingham said. "We don't even talk about redshirting at this point and time."
Among the first-year players that have stood out to Whittingham so far are Luke Matthews, a receiver from Arizona, Sausan Shakerin, a running back from Alta High and Junior Tui'one, a defensive end from El Camino JC.
STILL WAITING: Whittingham said the Utes are "still on pins and needles waiting" for wide receiver Aiona Key to arrive in camp. They've held a spot open for the highly touted junior college transfer to join the team. The posting of one grade has caused the delay.
WOMEN'S CLINICS: The Utes have scheduled their annual women's clinics. This year's three sessions are set for Sept. 3, 24 and Oct. 15 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and will feature football insights by coaches and staff. The cost is $40. For more information contact Jeff Rudy at 581-8563 or via e-mail at [email protected].
SWINGING FINISH: Monday's first practice ended with a little golf competition between Brian Johnson, Koa Misi and Louie Sakoda to see which part of the team had to run gassers. Sakoda prevailed forcing the offense and defense to participate in the sprints.
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