Joe Williams comes out of retirement; may play Saturday

Joe Williams comes out of retirement; may play Saturday

(Holli Joyce,

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SALT LAKE CITY — Senior running back Joe Williams is back to practicing with the football team, according to head coach Kyle Whittingham.

Williams, who retired shortly after the season started due to health concerns, is back to practicing with the team and is on a “day-by-day” basis, according to Whittingham.

"If he looks good and does well, he'll play Saturday," Whittingham said. "If there's a reason we don't think it's in ours or his best interest then we won't do that."

Depending on Williams’ health, Utah may use him to fill the void left by an injury-ravaged running back position after Armand Shyne sustained a season-ending injury against Arizona, and injuries have sidelined Zack Moss, Troy McCormick and Jordan Howard.

Whittingham said the team reached out to Williams, who was aware of the running back situation and wanted to help. He added that the team was supportive of Williams’ return and that it was “positive.”

“We wouldn't make a move like this without support from the team leadership,” Whittingham said on his coaches show on ESPN 700.

On Monday, Whittingham said he had talked to his staff about the possibility of Williams returning but that nothing was finalized. Whittingham said Moss was the most likely of the injured players to be back, but that he would be a gametime decision, leaving Marcel Manalo as the sole running back. Whittingham added that freshman Devonta’e Henry-Cole was expected to redshirt this season, but that the team may have to utilize him in a desperate situation.

Whether Williams plays or not is unknown given his current health and the fact that he hasn't been with the team for a few weeks; however, he would likely add to the depth should Utah need to utilize him.

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Josh Furlong


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