July 31, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Utah starting safety Chase Hansen is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury.

After Monday's practice, Coach Kyle Whittingham called the issue a ''lingering thing'' from before camp started last week. He hopes the 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior will be ready for the season opener against North Dakota on August 31.

Utah does not typically detail injuries unless they are season-ending.

''He's one of the best players in the conference,'' Whittingham said. ''You always want to be full strength and have the best guys on the field, but if he's not there, he's not there.

''Knowing him, his work ethic, his toughness, my guess is he'll be there.''

Hansen started all 13 games in 2016 and received an All-Pac-12 honorable mention after leading the team with 90 tackles, including 7 1/2 for loss, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

''He worked out all summer,'' Whittingham said. ''It was just something we thought we could get out ahead of and were never able to get out ahead of it. So he needs some down time.''

Hansen is the lone returning starter in the Utes' defensive backfield. He is considered one of the top all-around players and one of the best athletes on the roster.

Junior college transfer Marquise Blair was listed behind Hansen at strong safety on the preseason depth chart, but Whittingham said another transfer, Corrion Ballard, would slide over from free safety for now. Sophomore Philip Afia picked up first-team reps at free safety Monday, but there remains a rotation with him, Ballard and Blair.

There isn't a ton of depth behind those top four safeties, and defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley hinted that a position change in the future could help address that.

''(Hansen) is fine,'' Scalley said. ''He's a competitor. Hopefully he's a quick healer.''

---

More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org

You May Like