Utah’s 2023 schedule has been anything but easy so far.

The Utes opened up with Florida, beating the Gators 24-11 at Rice-Eccles Stadium, then hit the road for its first-ever meeting with Baylor, gutting out a 20-13 comeback win.

Utah’s nonconference schedule over the past decade always featured either BYU or a Power Five team, including meetings with Michigan and Florida.

“Most teams play patsies the first couple of weeks or even the first three weeks, but that’s not our M.O.,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

It’s the first time since 2004 that the Utes have opened the season by facing two nonconference Power Five opponents in a row. Nearly two decades ago, Alex Smith and the Utes, who would go undefeated and become the first-ever BCS busters, kicked off the season with wins over Texas A&M and Arizona.

Even with a number of key players out with injuries through those first two games, Utah is 2-0 heading into a matchup vs. Weber State on Saturday.

With two weeks until Pac-12 play, the Utes are hoping to get healthy before what looks to be a gauntlet of a schedule. The Utes face Oregon State, USC and Washington on the road, and Oregon and Colorado pay a visit to Salt Lake City.

The Pac-12 looks set for one of its best seasons yet, and it’s truly a shame that it will be the conference’s last year. The Pac-12 is 20-3 in nonconference play through Week 2.

Simply put, the Utes are going to need as much health as possible for the conference slate.

Micah Bernard, Utah’s No. 2 running back and the best receiving threat out of the backfield, was dealt a tough blow as Whittingham announced Saturday afternoon that Bernard is out for the year with a season-ending injury.

Last season, while dealing with some injuries throughout the campaign, he played in all 14 of Utah’s games, rushing for 533 yards and four touchdowns, and he added 314 receiving yards and a score through the air.

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Two of Utah’s biggest offensive weapons, quarterback Cam Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe, have yet to play this season with ACL rehabs.

Rising practiced with no limitations this week and “looked good,” per Whittingham, but still hasn’t been given the green light to return to competition against an opposing team.

“We get Cam back at some point, hopefully this week, but I’ve been crossing my fingers for a couple weeks now,” Whittingham said.

Running back Chris Curry is still “not quite up to speed,” but is improving, Whittingham said.

Defensive tackle Simote Pepa and defensive end Connor O’Toole, who didn’t play against Florida, were out again vs. Baylor. Linebacker Karene Reid, who exited the Florida game with what looked like a head injury, was also absent against the Bears.

One Utah player did make his season debut after being sidelined by injury in the opener — defensive tackle Junior Tafuna.

With all due respect to Weber State — the Wildcats were very successful in FCS under Jay Hill and new head coach Mickey Mental looks to continue that — Utah should be able to sub its starters out earlier than usual (or rest some starters altogether) on Saturday, preserving them and getting players further down on the depth chart game reps.

Utah has beaten Weber State by an average of 39 points in their last three meetings.

The Utes have two full weeks until opening the conference slate.

Is that enough time to get some of those key pieces healthy again?

Time will tell.

Utah opens Pac-12 play with UCLA at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Sept. 23.

Not that Utah’s looking past the Wildcats.

“All we’re worried about is next week, Weber State,” safety Sione Vaki said.