It’s a shame. He played lights out in this game and was really just phenomenal with his play. —Kyle Whittingham
SALT LAKE CITY — Chase Hansen was a major contributor in Utah’s 34-23 win at Washington last Saturday. The redshirt freshman had a game-high 11 tackles, a pass breakup and a forced fumble in his first collegiate start.
Things were going well until the final play from scrimmage. That’s when Hansen suffered a lower leg injury — leaving him on the Husky Stadium turf after time expired.
On Monday, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham confirmed that Hansen will be sidelined for the rest of the season.
“It’s a shame. He played lights out in this game and was really just phenomenal with his play,” Whittingham said. “So, it’s a setback for us. But it’s next man up.”
Senior Tevin Carter, who was taking some reps at linebacker last week, will move back to safety full-time. He tops the depth chart at strong safety with junior Jason Thompson as the backup.
Whittingham said they’ll “need to step up and pick up the slack” in Hansen’s absence.
Hansen, meanwhile, is awaiting final word as to whether or not he’ll need surgery. Specifics of the injury have not been made public and probably won’t be as per team policy.
“We know for sure he’s out for the rest of the year,” Whittingham said. “No matter whether it’s surgical or non-surgical.”
Whittingham also addressed the position question. Hansen came to Utah as a quarterback but was enlisted to play safety in the midst of the current season. Whittingham doesn’t think the injury will be a factor in determining where Hansen plays in the future.
Last week, Whittingham said the decision would be Hansen’s to make when the season concludes. Now, he explained, Hansen wants the coaches to decide.
Whatever the case may be, Whittingham noted that everyone will be on the same page.
“Bottom line is he’s going to be on the field somewhere for us next year and whether it’s quarterback or safety or whatever, he’s going to be a starter,” Whittingham said. “And we’ve just got to make the determination in the offseason what we’re going to focus on with him.”
Hansen, a former Lone Peak High School star who redshirted one season before serving an LDS Church mission to Australia, finishes the year with 17 tackles (1.5 for loss). He also had a forced fumble, a pass breakup and a sack. On offense, Hansen rushed for 31 yards on four carries. His only pass attempt was incomplete.
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