Utah Utes football notebook: Friday walk-through will get Utes acclimated
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Utes are scheduled to visit Notre Dame Stadium Friday afternoon for a 45-minute walk-through practice. Quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson thinks it'll be beneficial. The Utes, he noted, did so at places like the Big House in Michigan and the Louisiana Superdome in recent years.
"You see it Friday. You get a chance to look at it and do your deal or whatever — get it out of your system," Johnson said. "When it's game time on Saturday you are ready to go."
Junior cornerback Brandon Burton is hopeful the team gets to see a little bit of the campus as well, although he doubts it'll be on the itinerary.
"All I can think about when I hear Notre Dame is 'Rudy,' the movie. I've watched that 100 times," Burton said. "I know for sure it's going to be a great atmosphere out there. We've just got to control the environment that we're in and play."
ANOTHER BIG SPOT: Brian Johnson played in a lot of big venues in his career, culminating with Most Outstanding Player honors in Utah's 31-17 victory over Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
Visiting Notre Dame has got the first-year quarterbacks coach enthused as well.
"I'm super pumped to get the chance to go there. It's such a storied program. It's a place I've never been to. It's a place that not a lot of our players have been to. Even a lot of the coaches haven't been out there," Johnson said. "So it'll be a great trip for us. We've got an opportunity to win a football game at one of the great venues in college football."
TOUCHDOWN TONY: Notre Dame receivers coach Tony Alford is the older brother of Utah running backs coach Aaron Alford. He also has another tie to the Utes. On Oct. 28, 1989, the former Colorado State running back had a record-setting day in Salt Lake City. Alford ran for 310 yards on 28 carries in a 50-10 win over Utah. He scored three touchdowns in the lopsided win.
"It was one of those days where everything worked out in our favor," said Alford, who actually broke a bone in his foot in the first quarter. "I think they felt sorry for me so they just kind of let me run around."
Prior to last Saturday's 47-7 loss to TCU it was Utah's last 40-point setback at home.
SENIOR DAY: Notre Dame's home finale is also "Senior Day," a game the Fighting Irish have lost the past two seasons. First-year head coach Brian Kelly is trying not to overplay it.
Even so, he acknowledges that this year's seniors have done a lot for the program — despite a disappointing 4-5 final campaign.
"They have had to build this foundation and they have been forced to dig a hole, and digging that hole is that foundation that we are talking of," Kelly said. "They have had to put a lot on their shoulders and for that they will always be welcome here at Notre Dame."
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