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Joe Raymond, AP
Southern California interim head coach Ed Orgeron, left, shakes hands with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly prior to the beginning of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
(Orgeron's) a good man; he’s a good coach; and he’s a ragin’ Cajun. —Dennis Erickson

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson and USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron go back, way back. They worked together at Miami (Fla.) from 1989-92 and won a pair of national championships (1989, 1991). Oregeron was a graduate assistant when Erickson was hired to coach the Hurricanes and then became the defensive line coach.

“We’ve been friends since that time. We don’t talk a lot, but I visit with him quite often,” Erickson said. “He’s a good man; he’s a good coach; and he’s a ragin’ Cajun.”

The coaches share mutual respect. Earlier in the week, Orgeron called Erickson “a tremendous football coach.”

Orgeron, who is 1-1 at the helm since replacing the fired Lane Kiffin, faces an uncertain future with the Trojans after this season.

“I hope he has an opportunity to maybe get that job,” Erickson said.

PREPARING WELL: Whittingham is pleased with the progress the Utes are making in preparation for Saturday’s game.

“We’ve had two good days now — back to back,” he said. “The attitude is very positive and it needs to be. So we’re on track, so far, this week.”

WILSON UPDATE: Utah quarterback Travis Wilson had another productive practice while wearing a protective glove over his injured throwing hand, which includes a sprained index finger.

“It’s good. It’s getting better,” he said. “It felt a lot better than it did yesterday and every day I think it will progressively get better as well."

Whittingham also likes what he’s seeing out of the sophomore, who left last Saturday’s 35-24 loss at Arizona just before halftime and did not return because of an inability to grip the football.

“He threw better than yesterday and so if we get the same progress the next couple of days we should be 100 percent by Saturday,” said Whittingham, who added "that’s what is hoped for.”

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer