Running back Mike Salido learned this week that he will be forced to sit out the season because of a lingering leg injury, but don't expect him to sit around waiting for next season. He hopes to compete in several mountain bike races during the next couple of months.

Salido, a former BMX bike champ, competed in a 26-mile mountain bike race this year - which, considering his BMX background, was the equivalent of a sprinter jumping up to the marathon."It turned into an obsession just to finish it," says Salido. "I think I finished about 80th out of 130. It was brutal. It's by far the hardest thing I've ever done."

Despite his tough introduction to the sport, Salido is undaunted, to say the least. He plans to pursue the sport in earnest eventually. "I definitely want to go pro someday. I'd like to give it a shot."

For the record, Salido raced the BMX circuit internationally while in high school and twice won the European championship.

"I don't do that anymore," says Salido, who rides his bike to and from school and just about everywhere else in Provo.

Oh, yes, and what about football? "I'll be back next year," he says.

***

Given the string of injuries at running back, the Cougars, for the most part, have decided to scrap their plans to move halfback Matt Bellini to wide receiver. "I think we've bagged that for now, because of his injuries and because of the situation at running back," says assistant coach Norm Chow. "Matt will still be used outside, but more as a running back. We thought we were loaded at running back, but what we thought would be a deep position has been thinned out."

***

After a week of two-a-days, here's what BYU's backfield looks like:

Starting fullback Fred Whittingham is healthy and apparently recovered from a minor foot injury. Halfback Mike Salido is out for the season with an injury. Bellini has been sidelined by a knee injury, but he is supposed to practice for the first time Monday. Eric Mortensen, who underwent major knee surgery last winter, is "still not back to where we want him," says Chow.

Stacy Corley, who wowed everybody in the spring game, is listed as Bellini's backup. Peter Tuipulotu will back up Whittingham at fullback.

***

According to Coach LaVell Edwards, what BYU lacks most is experience at wide receiver and offensive line. The Cougars, from one wide receiver to the other and all players in between, lost every full-time starter along the offensive line, although wideout David Frandsen and tight end Chris Smith started some last season.

How inexperienced is this year's starting group? The five interior linemen have started a combined total of one game. The top four receivers have caught a combined total of 26 passes at the major college level. Dave Frandsen, has caught 23 of them, 20 last year. Brent Nyberg, who has been impressive in fall camp, is a new transfer from Dixie. Matt Odle caught three passes last season and Andy Boyce caught none.

***

COUGAR NOTES:: A lot of Cougar fans are wondering who the starting quarterback will be on opening day, Ty Detmer or Sean Covey? It will be Detmer . . . BYU held its first scrimmage Saturday evening in Cougar Stadium, and Edwards liked what he saw. "The hitting and execution was good for the first scrimmage," he said. "There were no mishandled snaps and no interceptions. I felt really good about it." . . . In what BYU coaches described as a scare, Mohammed Elewonibi, a vastly promising but injury-prone 6-foot-4, 305-pound guard, went down with an apparent knee injury Friday afternoon after a teammate rolled into the leg. Coaches feared the worst, but Elewonibi scrimmaged on Saturday.

***

An already thin receiving corps at the U. got a little thinner this week when starting tight end Dennis Smith suffered what is being termed a sprained ankle.

The injury is, according to trainer Bill Bean, likely to keep him out of "a week or so" of practice.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Martin Roberts, a 6-4, 245-pound tackle from Brooklyn, is out for six weeks with a broken ankle, sustained Wednesday in the first day of practice in pads.

***

Move over Bob Lanier. The ex-NBA player with legendary foot size has some competition. Ute offensive lineman Raphael Molle, a freshman from Irvine, Calif., wears a size 17. Since the shoe company that supplies the Utes doesn't make anything that large, the school had to special order shoes for Molle.

At 6-5, 288, Molle may be big, but he is living proof that big doesn't necessarily mean dumb. He was honored with an Academic Hall of Fame Scholar/Athlete Award for pulling - get this - a 4.11 GPA in high school. He received extra points for scoring A's in accelerated classes.

***

One highly touted Ute who didn't make the grade was junior college all-America linebacker Lance Salley. The New Jersey product was scheduled to transfer to Utah, but Coach Jim Fassel said he did not have enough transferable credit hours to play and attend school at Utah.

***

A player Fassel contends Ute fans will be impressed with is sophomore running back Rod Wells.

Wells, who played in 1987 for the Utes, rushing for 273 yards, redshirted last year. At 5-7, 190 pounds, he has developed the reputation of a player nobody likes to tackle.

"Our guys hate tackling him," said Fassel. "He's so low to the ground and he hits so hard, he's hard to tackle."

Fassel continued, "He has all the things you want in a runner. The only thing he doesn't have is height. If he was 6-2 he'd be amazing."

***

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At Saturday's scrimmage, running back Steve Sigloch broke loose for a 69-yard touchdown run down the sideline on the second play. For the evening, Sigloch led all rushers with 93 yards on five carries.

Quarterback Scott Mitchell completed eight of nine passes for 85 yards and one touchdown. Mitchell's TD strike was a 29-yarder to Mike Connaughton, who led the Ute receivers with 38 yards on two catches.

Sophomore Mike Richmond shared quarterback duties with Mitchell and completed six of 11 passes for 54 yares. Junior tight end

Dean Witkin caught three passes forf 30 yards.

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