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Devontae Booker questionable against UCLA

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said star running back Devontae Booker is a "question mark" for Saturday's game against UCLA.

Booker sustained an injury to his right knee midway through the game against Arizona and was held out for a quarter as medical staff attended to him. Booker re-entered the game in the second half but was not his explosive self.

"He usually runs with a lot of violence and tenacity, and you could tell that he had lost that edge just a little bit," Whittingham said.

Although Utah does not announce injuries unless a player sustains a season-ending injury, Whittingham said the training staff will do further tests to fully understand his overall health coming into Saturday's game.

"It's a question mark right now," Whittingham said. "We'll know a lot more after today (Monday). There's more evaluations that have to take place."

Following a costly fumble by Booker late in the game, Whittingham said he consulted with running backs coach Dennis Erickson as to whether junior college transfer Joe Williams should replace Booker in the lineup to close out the game. The two decided upon Booker, but Whittingham said they should have used Williams more in hindsight.

"We should have utilized him more in the last game later in the game," Whittingham said. "As things turned out, Devontae thought he was going to be able to return and be at full strength. But it was very obvious that he wasn't. We probably should have put Joe back in and gave him a few more touches."

Booker told ESPN 700 after the Arizona game that he wasn't feeling any of the effects of the injury after the game but was expecting to know more on Sunday.

"I feel good as of right now," he said. "Maybe (Sunday) it might start hurting, but I'd play through the pain anyways no matter what's hurting on me."

In Booker's absence, if he can't play, Utah would utilize Williams, who had a good showing against the Wildcats. He finished the game with 37 rushing yards on seven carries, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Williams has had limited reps this year, but Whittingham said he sees him as next year's "heir apparent" to replace Booker.

Whittingham also said he was hopeful that starting defensive end Hunter Dimick and starting corner Reggie Porter will be back in the lineup for Saturday. Whittingham said the two will get reps in practice this week and then the determination will be made whether they're playing or not.

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Josh Furlong


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