Brent Casteel can't wait for Saturday's season-opener at Michigan.

After missing most of the 2007 season with a knee injury, the senior receiver is eager to resume his promising career on the field.

"I'm looking forward to it. I've been out for so long," said Casteel, who hasn't played in a game since Utah's 20-12 loss to Air Force last September. "I want to get back in the flow of things, go out there and make plays and put some points on the board for the team."

Casteel, who was an all-conference performer in 2006, went all out in practice Wednesday — taking to heart a comment head coach Kyle Whittingham made to the team.

"You're going to play exactly the way you practice," Whittingham said.

Casteel put an emphasis on finishing, and it showed in numerous situations. He gave himself a passing grade for the effort.

"I feel like I did a great job today on finishing," Casteel said before updating the condition of his surgically repaired knee.

"Everything's fine," he said. "No issues. I'm going to be 100 percent."

And he won't be the only one.

Whittingham said running backs Darrell Mack and Matt Asiata are also completely healthy after minor injuries.

"They're both doing a nice job and both are ready to go," said Whittingham, who added that tight end Neli A'asa (knee scope) and defensive tackle Aaron Tonga (MCL strain) have also healed up after being sidelined for stints during camp.

PRACTICE REPORT: Whittingham said Utah's final practice with pads on went well. The Utes will polish things up in a light workout today before heading to Michigan on Friday.

"I think we are on track," he said. "It was a good practice."

Things, however, did get a little chippy, and that means just one thing.

"It's time to line up against somebody else," Whittingham said.

FAVORITES?: Several national prognosticators are picking the Utes to upset the 24th-ranked Wolverines in Ann Arbor. Such talk, though, means nothing to Whittingham.

"I don't pay attention to any of that," he said. "It doesn't faze us one way or the other."


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