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Some Utah football assistant has an exhilarating job this week: Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.
As the Utes troll for information about injured UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, they're doing what everyone else is: looking for it online.
"We follow it on the internet, the things you read in the papers," coach Kyle Whittingham said. "But we're preparing as if he's going to play. He's a tough kid, a talented kid. If he's at all ready, he'll play."
That question is hanging over the week's lead-in to Utah's game at UCLA on Saturday at the Rose Bowl: Can the Bruins' sophomore starter play?
Averaging over 320 yards per game with 10 passing touchdowns, Rosen missed his first start of the year against Washington State. TV cameras captured videos of a shaky warm-up in which he looked pained while doing what he usually does best throwing the football.
Rosen wasn't seen practicing on Tuesday. On Wednesday, coach Jim Mora said the Bruins wouldn't know if Rosen could play until Saturday. Starting duties may go to backup Mike Fafaul, who had three touchdowns but threw two costly interceptions against the Cougars in a loss last weekend.
Senior defensive end Hunter Dimick said he wished he knew who was going to start, but added that Utah's defense will prepare for both quarterbacks. Senior corner Dominique Hatfield said that he had admired Rosen's game since high school, and called him an NFL Draft "first-rounder eventually."
"Not having him period just a leader and a starting quarterback is a bad thing for them, but Fafaul isn't a big drop-off," Hatfield said. "He can throw the ball, he can fit it in some windows. I've seen him make some pretty passes. We've got to bring our best against him."
Henry-Cole ready to go
While Whittingham said this week that coming out of "redshirt mode" is a difficult calling, freshman Devonta'e Henry-Cole doesn't mind: Just like anyone, he'd like to play.
"I was kind of iffy at first," he said, "but I'll do anything to help win. Watching, being a redshirt, learning from the other backs. … I was nervous the first play, but after that, I was ready for the second."
The freshman from Boca Raton, Fla., and product of St. Thomas Aquinas made a debut that could've been missed with a blink: He had a 2-yard run against Oregon State that effectively burned a planned redshirt year, thanks to Utah's narrowing running back depth.
At 5-foot-8 and 193 pounds, Henry-Cole can be spotted around campus by his lightly bleached hair wrapped into a bun along with a cadre of his freshmen teammates with similarly colored coifs: roommate Samson Nacua, Bapa Falemaka and Julian Blackmon.
"We like standing out," Henry-Cole said. "We like being different."
Now that he is no longer redshirting, Henry-Cole will be given a chance to stand out more on the field, Whittingham said, particularly on special teams. The Utes are trying him at returner in practice this week.
Sophomore punter Mitch Wishnowsky seems well-poised to follow in Tom Hackett's footsteps in postseason awards: He made midseason All-American lists for ESPN, Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports this week. Wishnowsky leads the country with 49.1 yards per punt this year, and has pinned opponents inside the 10-yard line eight times, according to ESPN's Kyle Bonagura. … The Utes announced that senior linebacker Marcus Sanders-Williams will not be available this year. Whittingham said that he started the year off injured, and the coaching staff has decided to redshirt him.