Kyle Whittingham says Utah may use two quarterbacks against UCLA

Utah quarterback Kendal Thompson tries to evade the rush of Michigan's defense during their game last weekend.
(Kirthmon F. Dozier / McClatchy-Tribune)

Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham didn’t rule out a quarterback shuffle against UCLA on Saturday.

Travis Wilson, the Utes’ starter, struggled in a 28-27 loss to Washington State last week. He completed 18 of 38 passes for 165 yards, though he was hurt by several dropped passes as Utah blew a 21-0 lead.

Still, Whittingham was pondering using Kendal Thompson, a transfer from Oklahoma, at least in small doses.

“We’re taking a look at all possibilities,” Whittingham said. “Kendal, in hindsight, probably should have gotten a couple of series in the game Saturday. But we’re looking for any and every answer we can come up with offensively.”

Wilson has been an effective quarterback for two seasons, though he has been known to take too many chances.


He missed the last three games last season after a severe concussion that required a prolonged recovery. Wilson was cleared in the spring. He did a head-over-cleats tumble against Michigan, landing on his head, two weeks ago and left the game. He returned to lead Utah to 26-10 victory.

The 6-foot-7 Wilson has thrown for 783 yards and seven touchdowns without an interception this season.

“Travis Wilson has done a great job protecting the football and taking care of it,” Whittingham said. “That’s one of the reasons that we are 3-1, and we should be 4-0, because of the lack of turnovers.”

Wilson made his first career start against UCLA in 2012 and has had two good games against the Bruins.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” UCLA Coach Jim Mora said. “He is a solid, smart quarterback. As a taller guy, you might think he’s gangly, but he can run and run effectively. He looks like he is making great decisions.”

But it is Wilson’s coach who may make the next decision, as he tries to kick-start the offense.


“The first two games we played very well offensively,” Whittingham said. “We realize the degree of difficulty increased. We had chances to make plays Saturday night, three or four times, to connect deep, and just weren’t able to do it.”

Turning the corner

Safety Anthony Jefferson, who came to UCLA as a cornerback, has returned to that spot in recent games.

Jefferson had a broken foot and back surgery during his first two seasons at UCLA. He gradually regained the speed that made him an effective cornerback at Los Angeles Cathedral High. He spent most of the Arizona State game at cornerback and intercepted a pass.

“It’s been great,” Jefferson said. “I love moving around, playing all those positions.”

Playing cornerback has been a welcome change.

“You get to single in on one guy,” Jefferson said. “You get an opportunity to make a lot plays. Safety is more tackling than coverage. Corner, it’s mano a mano most of the time.”

Redmond update

Mora said guard Alex Redmond’s status would be, “a game-time decision.” But it appears unlikely that the sophomore will being in the lineup.

Redmond sprained his left ankle against Arizona State and has not practiced this week. It would leave the Bruins without two linemen projected to start the season. Tackle Simon Goines is still trying to get back from knee surgery.

Kenny Lacy replaced Redmond in the Arizona State game.

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