SALT LAKE CITY — It remains to be seen if starting quarterback Tyler Huntley will be cleared to play in the Holiday Bowl against Northwestern. The junior was injured in a 38-20 loss at Arizona State on Nov. 3 and has been sidelined ever since.
Redshirt freshman Jason Shelley stepped in and guided the Utes to wins over Oregon, Colorado and BYU. The streak ended with a 10-3 loss to Washington in the Pac-12.
Huntley, though, has returned to practice in a limited way and said he would start if cleared for contact.
On Monday, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham updated the situation.
“It’s still a question mark. That’s still a question mark and so we’re still working through it,” Whittingham said. “The original date was this coming Friday of the next check-up or examination. So right now we’re just keeping our fingers crossed.”
Whittingham later acknowledged that if Huntley isn’t cleared later this week then adjustments may have to be made on who to get prepared for the game.
HANSEN UPDATE: It also remains to be seen if senior linebacker Chase Hansen will play in the Holiday Bowl.
“That’s for debate as well,” said Whittingham, who noted there are still two weeks until the game. “So we’ll see what happens.”
Hansen, an All-American, was reportedly injured in the Pac-12 title game.
“If he’s ready by game day, I mean, that would be fine,” Whittingham said when asked when Hansen would need to be ready to play.
TAYLOR’S DEPARTURE: Shelley addressed the loss of offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, who accepted the head coaching job at Sacramento State.
“I’m happy for him. I’m happy he got an opportunity to be a head coach,” Shelley said. “I hope he does great things over there at Sac State.”10 comments on this story
If all goes as planned, Taylor will return to help coach the Utes in the Holiday Bowl.
EXTRA POINTS: Whittingham estimated that about 70 percent of Utah’s signing class (12-14 guys) is expected to sign with the Utes on Wednesday. That’s when the early signing period begins . . . There’s no update on the vacant linebacker coaching position left by Justin Ena’s departure to be the defensive coordinator at Utah State. Whittingham said “they’re still searching” . . . The Utes are No. 2 nationally in red zone defense (63.9 percent).