For any athlete it's an honor to be named a team captain, as voted on by your teammates. Today, Coach Kyle Whittingham announced the five Utah football team captains for the 2014 season. There are two captains each for offense and defense, and one special teams captain. This years team captains are lead by four seniors and one sophomore. Here are the captains for the 2014 Utah football team:
Junior Salt - Left Guard - Senior
It's always a great sign when there is an offensive lineman named a captain. Junior Salt will help anchor the left side of the line to help protect Travis Wilson's blind side. Salt, who was initially recruited as a defensive lineman, is now an all-conference candidate, and to be named a captain shows there is respect from the team for the offensive line. Last season Salt played and started in all 12 games at right guard, led the Utes with 20 knockdowns, and had five pancake blocks.
Dres Anderson - Wide Receiver - Senior
The flashy 'Red Rocket' has been put into the all important leadership roll. Anderson could break Utah's all-time receiving mark this year, in terms of yards, and has always shown incredible talent, but maybe not the best consistency. He leads one of the most crucial units for Utah's offense, a unit that did let the quarterbacks down at times last year. Anderson needs to be vocal this year, and be at times a stereotypical "diva" receiver to give this offense some swag.
Brian Blechen - Safety - Senior
It seems like Blechen has been a Ute since the mid-90s, but the 5th year senior is going into his final season as a Ute a team captain. Blechen needs to anchor the back end of Utah's defense this season, not only being a ball hawk, but directing traffic for the entire secondary. Blechen has always had a knack for making the big play, see his game sealing interception against Pitt in his first ever game as a Ute. This year, if healthy, he and Tevin Carter could be a fierce tandem in the back end. In his last injury plagued season of 2012, Blechen was honorable mention All-Pac-12. He played and started in the last nine games, after servicing a suspension, and led Utes in tackles per game (6.44). His 58 total tackles ranked third on the team, and his five pass breakups was tied for second. Blechen also had 3.5 tackles for loss and interception and a forced fumble
Nate Orchard - Defensive End - Senior
The Salt Lake product is heading into his final season, of what has been a solid career. Orchard has to fill the shoes of Trevor Reilly, who was the heart and soul of Utah's defense last year. Orchard needs to be the anchor of the Utah front seven, similar to how Blechen needs to be the anchor of the secondary. Last season, Orchard started all 12 games at left end. He was named Athlon National Defensive Player of the Week in Utah's win over No. 5 Stanford, when he recorded 2.0 sacks, forced two fumbles and had five tackles. His 50 total tackles included 9.0 TFL and 3.5 sacks.
Andy Phillips - Kicker - Sophomore
The biggest no brainer of all the captains is Andy Phillips. The all-american and Groza watch list member, has been crucial to Utah's special teams. His strong and accurate leg has made decisions a lot easier for Coach Whittingham. Last season Phillips was 17-of-20 (85%) on field goals. His misses were all 30-yards and longer, with two of the misses coming between 40-49 yards. He was one-of-one on 50+ yard attempts with a 51-yard kick. He was also 41-of-41 on extra points.
Here are Coach Whittingham and Morgan Scalley talking about the captains, and Blechen talking about being named a captain: