Utah football notes: Utes' thin O-line takes another hit
Latu Heimuli, who was moved from D-line to fill in, needs thumb surgery.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The injury bug has officially bitten Utah's offensive line.

Not only are offensive linemen Sam Brenner (elbow) and his backup, Isaac Asiata (ankle), out with injuries, but the player tabbed to replace them is now out as well.

Latu Heimuli, moved from the defensive line to the left guard spot Wednesday morning, is now out for several weeks with a thumb injury that will require surgery.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the team doesn't have many options to fill the spot.

"We're scrambling a little bit there," Whittingham said. "We'll have to look at it again tonight and look at the options."

The offensive line is the one area in which the Utes entered camp without much depth, particularly after one signee, lineman Benji Kemoeatu, failed to meet his academic requirements and didn't join the team.

Another, 6-foot-5, 380-pound Po'u Palelei, hasn't completed his academic requirements at Salt Lake Community College and may not join the team.

The good news for the Utes is that none of the injuries is thought to be serious enough to keep the players sidelined for the season.

When Heimuli returns, it will be to the offensive line, Whittingham said.

"He played offense in high school, so he has experience there at guard, so it's not completely new to him," Whittingham said. "But our terminology is, so we're at square one with that."

Heimuli played in 11 games last year, finishing with seven tackles as he dealt with his own share of injuries.

Wynn rests arm

After two days of taking it easy, Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn didn't throw at all Wednesday. The junior tried his best to snuff out any thoughts that his shoulder is hindering him.

"There is no need to worry," he said. "Fans don't need to worry, there is nothing to worry about. My shoulder is fine."

Wynn, who will throw in Thursday's scrimmage, has been taking the snaps in short-yardage situations so he can work with his line. However, he admitted not throwing the ball was frustrating.

"I want to be out there and taking all the reps, but sometimes, I can't fool myself into doing something that maybe my shoulder isn't ready or willing to do. So every once in a while, it's good to re-evaluate it and just let it rest."

Up next

The Utes will work through almost 80 snaps in Thursday's scrimmage, with every healthy player getting a chance to show what they can do. —

Practice points

What we learned • John White, a junior-college transfer, has had the best practices out of the running backs and now has a slim advantage in the position race.

Who was hot • The defense had some of its best moments Wednesday, playing particularly well in third-down situations.

Who to watch • Eric Rowe, moved to strong safety Tuesday, continues to lock down that position with another good practice Wednesday.