Utah coach Kyle Whittingham isn't the only one with close ties to Washington State Mike Leach.
Utah defensive end Trevor Reilly signed with Texas Tech out of high school before going on a mission.
He opted to look elsewhere when Leach was in the midst of a contract dispute with the school.
"I didn't want to be stuck out in Lubbock with no coach and being the only California kid," Reilly said.
Reilly landed at Utah but has stayed in touch with Leach, going so far as to call him and ask him for tips before the Utes played Iowa State in 2010.
"He told me if we got up on them fast they'd quit, and he was right," Reilly said.
Having a close knowledge of Leach has helped Reilly prepare for Saturday's game, he said.
"He likes to run crossing routes and if you carry the crossing routes they keep running and if you wait for it then the receivers sit so he coaches his guys to read off what the defense gives them, so it will be a big test for our DBs, corners and linebackers."
The Utah Utes hope to shut down one of the most prolific passing games in the country on Saturday, but before then, the Utes were shutting down their own players.
Corner Ryan Lacy, who was coming off his best game as a Ute against Cal in the judgement of Whittingham, was made off limits to members of the media on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"He just, this week is off limits for Ryan," Whittingham said after practice.
Normally, the only players off limits are those who are hurt or are facing a disciplinary action. The Tribune confirmed Lacy was in good standing with the team.
Lacy leads the Utes with two interceptions and is tied for the team lead in pass breakups.
While Whittingham has instituted a policy in which he won't address injuries, he did acknowledge earlier this week that offensive lineman Sam Brenner and backup running back Kelvin York are hampered by injuries.
On Wednesday, he admitted this might be the worst number of injuries he has experienced as a coach.
"Everything goes in cycles, but right now we have a lot of guys banged up," he said.
Utah's offensive line has taken the brunt of the injuries, with left guard Jeremiah Tofaeono the most recent to go down. Tofaeono did not play against Cal and could be out several more weeks, Whittingham said Monday.
On the D
Washington State's defense is one of the worst in the country, giving up 436.75 yards and 29.63 points a game. However, Whittingham said he is impressed with the improvements the Cougars are showing.
"They have good schemes with a lot of energy and are very sound," Whittingham said.
The Cougars gave up 32.6 points in their first five games and have given up 24.7 in their last three games.
The Cougars have 21 sacks this year, which is four more than they had in 2011.
Senior Travis Long is fourth in the league with 7.5 sacks.