Scouts from the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers were on hand to watch the Utes practice in preparation for their Sept. 20 date with Michigan in Ann Arbor. (Some fans have noted a similarity between Utah starting quarterback Travis Wilson and fictional Jerry Maguire quarterback Frank Cushman, so having the Broncos and Chargers around seems appropriate. Perhaps Wilson will either surf or ski.)
The Utes practiced in shells (traditional red helmets with shorts and shoulder pads) on Tuesday for the first practice of their bye week. The workout was held in the Eccles Fieldhouse due to the heavy rains during the day. Ball carriers and receivers were ruled down after being touched. Utah broke down their offensive and defensive assignments in 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 lineman drills before moving to full-team live work.
Practice moved to live work from the 50-yard line with the first and second units alternating for four series (two apiece). • After practice, the Utes met with a local little league football team in the north end zone. Both the players and the little leaguers were very excited to meet one another. A majority of the scout team players stayed after practice to get extra reps.
When asked if practice was any less intense because this was not a game week, Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham said there was a high level of urgency and a good amount of focus in today's practice. He said the first two days of the bye week are over, but they have been productive with a good lift yesterday and a focused practice today.
Whittingham noted there will be a light practice on Wednesday (Sept. 10), a team lift on Thursday (Sept. 11), and a practice on Friday (Sept. 12). Due to the bye week, this differs from the usual schedule where the team practices Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and lifts Friday. Players will have this weekend off while the coaches travel to their assigned recruiting areas.
Whittingham was excited that his players were so enthusiastic about the new all-white uniforms, but said he personally does not care much about uniforms. He said his players have been asking for white helmets for a couple of years now and the leadership council among the players decides the uniform combinations each week. Whittingham added that the team will be doing a white-out for the Michigan game. • When asked about Utah's next opponent, Whittingham noted that Michigan always has a lot of good players and this year is no different.
"The offense has been executing really well so for and we have meshed together," Wilson said. "[Michigan] plays a very physical defense with a lot of man-to-man coverage, but we're used to that. We sill have to continue to concentrate on our execution. It's going to be a great game [against Michigan] and a great experience to play in Michigan Stadium. It's exciting to be able to compete against one of the traditional top teams in college football." Utah running back Devontae Booker echoed Wilson's excitement to play at Michigan in front of 105,000+ people.
Click here to listen to our interview with Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham.
Click here to listen to our interview with Utah defensive end Jason Fanaika.
Click here to listen to our interview with Utah running back Devontae Booker.
Click here to listen to our interview with Utah defensive end Hunter Dimick.