Below is the press release from the Utah Athletic Department:
The 18th-annual Red Zone Fan Fest with all 20 Utah intercollegiate teams participating is Saturday, Aug. 18 from 6-8 p.m. in Rice-Eccles Stadium. Parking and admission are free. The new clear bag policy will be in effect at the entry gates … The Utah athletics department has begun production on a new monthly podcast. Director of Athletics Mark Harlan will discuss items of interest in Utah athletics as well as trending topics in college athletics in the podcast “Hear It From Harlan.”
Sophomore linebacker Moroni Anae will miss the 2018 season with an injury. Anae, a walk-on from Riverside CC, joined the Utes in the spring … Walk-on defensive back Anthony Armstrong has been added to the camp 110 roster. Armstrong, a graduate transfer from BYU, has one year of college eligibility remaining … Defensive end Bradlee Anae, center Lo Falemaka, and defensive tackle Leki Fotu have been named to the 2018 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award watch list.
Last Saturday’s scrimmage was 70 plays and included special teams work. According to head coach Kyle Whittingham, there were very few penalties or missed assignments. The offense executed well, the receivers made plays and the defense was aggressive and tackled well. The bright spot of the special teams was a 62-yard field goal by Matt Gay … Position groups that stood out last week included the wide receivers, secondary and offensive and defensive lines. Assistant coach Jim Harding is getting closer to finalizing the eight or nine offensive linemen who will play … The tight ends are showing some separation with Jake Jackson No. 1 and Connor Haller and Cole Fotheringham battling for No. 2 … The top three linebackers are Chase Hansen, Cody Barton and Donavan Thompson.
Outside of the injury to Moroni Anae, all of the information covered in the press release is good news. I really like what Whittingham had to say about the scrimmage. Utah struggled last year with penalties and missed assignments, so it is great to hear that they are getting that cleaned up. Last year’s team was quite young, while the team is more experienced this year, so it makes sense that they are doing better in that regard in fall camp this year. Hearing that the receivers stood out is great because it is a group that lost its top two players from last year, but it is a group that has a lot of potential with multiple candidates to breakout with big seasons. The secondary is stacked, so no surprise there, it is also a testament to the receivers that they performed well against such a talented secondary that had a good scrimmage. Football is won in the trenches, so it is positive that both sides of the line played well. Both groups underachieved a bit from the usual high standard that Utah has last season, but I think both groups have the potential to be great this year. Gay is a stud and that kind of range is impressive and opens up some interesting possibilities for Utah. A 62-yard field goal means the team got to the opponent 45-yard line. Overall, I think the notes from the scrimmage are all quite positive.
Fan fest is always a fun experience, and I like that they moved it to the evening. I hope many of our readers are able to attend the event.
I really like the new Director of Athletics Mark Harlan. He has really made a name for himself since being hired to replace Dr. Chris Hill, who did so much for Utah Athletics. The new podcast is a great idea and should be a lot of fun for the fans.