While their teammates took the practice field Wednesday morning, seven Utes labored in "The Pit" and another watched from the sidelines after having a wisdom tooth extracted.
None of the injuries, however, are deemed to be too serious. The most significant is an MCL strain suffered by senior defensive tackle Aaron Tonga, who could be out for a couple of weeks.
"The dog days of fall camp are right now. The novelty of camp beginning is worn off and the (Michigan) game is still quite a bit in the distance. The bumps and bruises are starting to mount up," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
"The toughest grind during fall camp is the stretch we are in right now. So consequently 'The Pit' is getting more populated. But we expect to get those guys back starting tomorrow."
The initial group of returnees is expected to include safety Joe Dale (hip bruise), linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (knee tendinitis), wide receiver David Reed (tooth extraction) and running back Matt Asiata (ankle sprain).
Others on the mend include include linebacker Mo Neal, center Tyler Williams and tight end Neli A'asa.
It's a busy week for the players and their preparation for the Aug. 30 season-opener. The schedule includes three two-a-days, a pair of scrimmages and just one day with a single practice.
FIRST SCRIMMAGE: After reviewing tape of Utah's scrimmage on Tuesday, Whittingham said there were no surprises.
"It's about what I was anticipating," he explained.
Whittingham did, however, have something to say about the nine sacks the defense recorded in the scrimmage. He pointed out the mismatch of having Utah's No. 1 defensive line go against the No. 2 offensive line.
"It wasn't as bad of a situation as it may have looked on paper," Whittingham said.
BACK IN THE DAY: When Paul Kruger was originally recruited to Utah, he was a quarterback of note at Timpanogos High School, graduating in 2003. He has since developed into a talented defensive end in college, following Freshman All-American honors last year with preseason all-conference accolades this summer.
"It's pretty much out of my system," Kruger said of his quarterbacking days. "It feels like it's been a while since I've thrown the rock around."IN MICHIGAN: The Utes have finalized their travel plans to Michigan. They'll leave Friday morning, Aug. 29, and will likely have a closed walk-through at the stadium in Ann Arbor. Utah has sold all of its allotment of 3,500 tickets to the game.
Contributing: Mike Sorensen E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]