Football Notebook

By By Bryan Chouinard

By Bryan Chouinard

Injury report
Although the Utes couldn’t escape Autzen Stadium with a win Saturday, they did escape relatively healthy. Both Caleb Schlauderaff and Matt Asiata went into Saturday’s game listed as questionable and as game-time decisions. Both Schlauderaff and Asiata played Saturday, but Asiata struggled to find his rhythm, getting only 15 touches for 54 yards. Whether his shoulder affected his performance or not, Asiata8212;even less than 100 percent8212;will be ready to go this weekend.

“Matt was 75 percent Saturday,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “We expect him to be 85 to 90 percent this coming Saturday.”

Asiata isn’t the only Utah running back to catch the injury bug this season. Backup freshman Sausan Shakerin didn’t make the trip to Oregon this past weekend because of shoulder and wrist injuries and is not expected to play against Louisville on Saturday.

Wideout David Reed, who was an All-Mountain West Conference return man in 2008, didn’t field a kick against Oregon because of a sore quadricep. Junior Shaky Smithson filled in for Reed on return duties, something Ute fans might see more of in the future.

“You’ll see David go back and start returning kicks again as soon as he’s 100 percent, which we expect him to be this week, but Shaky will still take some of those reps from David from time to time,” Whittingham said.

Sad day for the MWC
Saturday’s loss for the Utes not only ended the nation’s longest active winning streak, but it also knocked Utah out of the Top 25 for the first time since Sept. 2, 2008. BYU also lost to a Bowl Championship Series conference foe last weekend, falling to the Florida State Seminoles at home 54-28. With the loss, the Cougars fell to 19th and squandered any hopes of a BCS berth in 2009. With two of the MWC’s top three teams falling over the weekend, the conference is left with one team hopeful of making it to a BCS bowl game8212;the No. 15-ranked TCU Horned Frogs. But before TCU can make a legitimate BCS run, the Horned Frogs must first travel to Clemson this weekend before hosting Utah and traveling to Provo.

No controversy at quarterback
In Terrance Cain’s third career Division-1 start, he was handed his first career loss. After throwing for a combined 534 yards and three touchdowns in his previous two career starts, Cain struggled against Oregon. Completing only half of his passes, he posted his lowest yardage total of the season and threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter. Despite the poor performance, Whittingham said Cain is still the starter for the Utes.

“There’s no quarterback controversy,” Whittingham said. “We think he is still the guy that gives us the best chance to win and we’ll just keep heading in the direction.”

Even as the Utah offense struggled, Whittingham made it clear that the coaching staff never considered sitting Cain to bring in true freshman Jordan Wynn.

“(Bringing in Jordan Wynn) was never discussed,” Whittingham said. “It wasn’t just breakdowns on Terrance’s part, so that being the case, there was no discussion to replace him.”

With that said, Whittingham will hold off on designating 2009 as Wynn’s redshirt year and still hopes to get the freshman in some game situations down the road.

“We would still like to get (Wynn) into some games if we have that opportunity and get him as tuned up as we can,” Whittingham said. “You’re only one snap away from your backup being the guy, and any reps that he can have prior to that is a bonus.”

Looking ahead to Louisville
Louisville is coming off a tough 27-31 loss against in-state rival Kentucky, and though the Cardinals’ quarterback Justin Burke is the polar opposite of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, there are similarities between the Pac-10 and Big East foes.

“(Burke) has a strong arm and moves around decently in the pocket,” Whittingham said. “He’s not a runner, that’s something he does not want to do, but he does throw the ball very well. We got a Louisville team coming in here this week that is very, very similar to Oregon as far as talent level, speed and athleticism.”

With Burke being the strong passer he is, cornerbacks R.J. Stanford and Brandon Burton will be put to the test this weekend, after not being tested against Oregon. After giving up 242 yards against San Jose State, the Utah corners only saw 16 pass attempts by Oregon’s Masoli. With Burke being far less mobile than Masoli, the Utah secondary will have their work cut out for them against Louisville.

“One of the worst games of (Stanford’s and Burton’s) career came early in the season,” safety Robert Johnson said. “Hopefully they will learn from it, and it will only get better.”

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Mike Mangum

Despite Terrance Cain?s struggles in Oregon, there is no threat that he will lose the starting job. Head coach Kyle