SALT LAKE CITY — Utah safety Chase Hansen has missed two games this season with undisclosed injuries. He missed all of fall camp, too, before coming back when regular practices started.
Last year’s tackles leader, who made 90 stops, is currently fourth this season. Hansen has 29 tackles, two quarterback hurries and one interception.
“He’s a tough kid. He plays the game with unbelievable aggression. He throws his body around,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s been unfortunate he’s had a string of setbacks. He’s a tough kid, though. He keeps bouncing back.”
Whittingham added that he’s sure it's been frustrating for Hansen, noting that it’s been so for the Utes as well.
“It’s not his fault,” Whittingham said. “Hopefully it’s just a string of bad luck and he can get healthy at some point and remain healthy the rest of the year.”
TRADING PLACES: Whittingham confirmed that offensive coordinator Troy Taylor will call plays from the box this week at Oregon. Tight ends coach Freddie Whittingham will swap spots and work from the field. Kyle Whittingham said Taylor feels like he can get a better vantage point up top. Taylor made the decision to move there and the head coach supports it.
“Sometimes a change-up of any sort can help you out,” Whittingham said. “And so if it gives him a better idea of the big picture, then I’m all for it.”
EXTRA POINTS: After one day of practice this week, Whittingham said that quarterback Tyler Huntley is closer to 100 percent, has more zip on the ball, and is much better than he was one week ago . . . Whittingham expressed hope that linebacker Sunia Tauteoli and Hansen will return from injuries and offset targeting suspensions handed down to linebacker Donavan Thompson and safety Corrion Ballard. Thompson and Ballard were penalized in the 30-10 loss to Arizona State last Saturday and will be sidelined for the first half against Oregon . . . Senior running back Royce Freeman has rushed for 5,103 yards and 54 touchdowns in his career. Ducks coach Willie Taggart said he loves him and wishes he had five more years of eligibility.