Charlie Weatherbie planned to be at Tuesday's Big 5 Huddle luncheon at the Salt Lake City Red Lion, and he'd planned to bring his new starting quarterback, Anthony Calvillo, along.
Weatherbie missed the previous two meetings of the state's top college football coaches because of commitments in Logan - he hadn't attended since he helicoptered in from Logan the Tuesday before the football season started.This time he was going to be there.
But he and Calvillo got grounded. The Logan doctor who owns and pilots the helicopter was detained in surgery, and the trio never got off the launching pad. "It's not an excuse, it's fact," pleaded Weatherbie to the assembled media and coaches via telephone hookup.
It was hardly a happy gathering.
Four of the Big 5 lost last week.
Utah didn't play and didn't lose - but coach Ron McBride still didn't sound happy because the NCAA's Mike DeHoog decision won't be handed down until later in the week, and the All-WAC candidate at left tackle can't practice until it is (provided he's cleared to play another season).
New Mexico State (3-0) at Utah State (0-3), 1 p.m. - Both Aggies begin Big West Conference play. In the series, Utah State has a 12-game win streak, but Jim Hess's club has obviously made big strides this season.
Calvillo, a junior-college transfer who entered the USU program in August, will take over as starter after spending the first three games learning the offense and backing up Greg Angelovic.
Redshirt freshman Abu Wilson is the new USU starter at running back. He was No. 1 until a preseason hip pointer gave the job to true freshman Tai Gordon.
Montana State (2-1) at Weber State (1-2), 6 p.m. - A lot of people picked Idaho to win the Big Sky, and after the Wildcats' 52-24 loss in Moscow, WSU's Dave Arslanian says, "I hope they are the best team in the Big Sky. We don't want to play anybody just yet that may be better than them."
Montana State, under new coach Cliff Hysell, leads the BSC in four of seven defensive categories, and the defense hasn't given up a touchdown since the first series of the first game, a 10-7 loss at Sacramento State.
Oregon State (1-1-1) at Utah (1-1), 7 p.m. - Last week's bye enabled McBride to personally scout OSU's 14-14 tie with Arizona, and he found the Beavers to be an unusually patient, mistake-free wishbone club with a pressure defense.
The bye gave Utah time to prepare for the wishbone, and freshman scout-teamer Harold Lusk, brother of Henry, gave the Utes a good look at an option quarterback - that's what he was in high school. Now Utah has to cope with the speed with which OSU runs the 'bone.
Utah beat OSU 22-10 last year in Corvallis, recovering five fumbles, but the Beavers lead the series 8-3-1.
Angelo State (2-1) at Southern Utah (1-2), 7 p.m. - Jack Bishop says his biggest concern is, "We're not very good on the offensive line; we're not getting things done on the up-front." Linemen aren't picking up blitzes and other defensive tactics, and the T-Birds average 3.49 yards a play despite a backfield featuring Zed Robinson.
Bishop says he'll change two or three offensive linemen and play more people at fullback at tailback in attempt to break a two-game losing streak.
Angelo State, never beaten by SUU, ranks sixth nationally in the NCAA Division II poll.
Brigham Young (1-2) at Hawaii (2-0), 11 p.m. MDT - Having lost two games at home that he considered at least tossups, and having lost his quarterback, is frustrating enough for coach LaVell Edwards. Now comes the nearly annual trip to the Cougars' own special version of Hades, where Ty Detmer teams lost 59-28 in 1990 and 56-14 in 1989 (BYU won 35-18 last year in Provo). Not only that, it's Hawaii's home opener, Edwards points out, and the Rainbows have had a bye to prepare.
"The attitude remains very high on the team, and I think we'll go over there more ready to play," says Edwards.
Steve Clements starts, obviously, at quarterback after the loss of John Walsh - he and his parents will ultimately make the decision whether to have surgery on his separated shoulder - with Ryan Hancock the backup QB.
Also lost is offensive tackle Eli Herring, who had arthroscopic knee surgery Monday and is out at least six weeks with what "might be a little bit more (damage) than they originally thought," Edwards said, adding Herring may apply to the NCAA for a medical hardship season.
Mike Empey moves from starting guard to tackle, and backup right guard Jim Edwards moves to starting left guard.