College football • QB won't blame injury for woes, says he's determined to get Utes to a bowl
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson has been through some trying times of late, but the sophomore is doing his best to maintain a positive outlook as the Utes prepare for their final four games.
Wilson, who threw for at least 200 yards in the Utes' first six games but has just 66 yards in the last two combined, said he isn't making any excuses for his play.
"Im really disappointed how I've been playing," he said. "I need to make sure I get better and the team gets better too."
Wilson refused to blame his performances on his injured throwing hand, even though he clearly hasn't been on the same level in the recent losses as he was earlier in the season.
Hearing talk of the Utes' looking at other quarterbacks or changing up the offense aren't exactly the kind of topics a starting quarterback wants to hear, but Wilson believes he can still get the job done for the Utes.
"We've got four games left and it would be huge to go to a bowl game for the seniors," he said. "I want to play hard for them and get them to a bowl game."
Wilson, who now has 14 interceptions to go with 14 touchdown passes after throwing two picks in Saturday's loss to USC, said co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson called him on Sunday for a pep talk.
"He told me to keep my head up and stuff and that is all I can do," he said. "I have to make sure we have a good preparation in the bye week and get ready for Arizona State."
Utah defender Trevor Reilly, who is widely recognized as the leader for Utah's defense, is being recognized on a national level for his talent as he is one of 12 semi-finalists for the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation's top linebacker.
Also among the candidates is BYU's Kyle Van Noy.
Reilly, who plays both defensive end and linebacker, leads the Utes with 69 tackles, including 44 solo. He has 11 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He also has a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
The finalists will be announced on Nov. 26 and the winner will be announced by Dec. 10.
The other semi-finalists are UCLA's Anthony Barr, LSU's Lamin Barrow, Wisconsin's Chris Borland, Cal's Khairi Fortt, Buffalo's Khalil Mack, Alabama's C.J. Mosley, Miami's Denzel Perryman, Ohio State's Ryan Shazier, Stanford's Shayne Skov and Connecticut's Yawin Smallwood.
The Utes have given up nine sacks in their last two games after allowing just eight in the six previous contests combined, but aren't considering any changes to the offensive line, Whittingham said.
"We feel like we are using the five who give us the best chance to win," he said.