Utah Utes football: Spring football game will showcase newcomers

Published: Friday, April 15 2011 9:19 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Fans attending Utah's Red-White Game at Rice-Eccles Stadium this afternoon will notice a few changes around the home of the Utes.

Pac-12 logos are now on the field and a bigger version is attached to the west exterior of the stadium.

Other things, however, won't be completely visible during the annual spring football finale.

Most notably, the product on the field.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham noted a lot of starters won't be involved in the game. It will be more of a showcase for young players and relative newcomers to the program.

"There will be some guys we put out there that are going to be fighting for starting jobs," Whittingham said.

The headline act is at running back, where true freshman Harvey Langi, rugby star Thretton Palamo and junior college transfer John White are battling for the leading role.

Whittingham said the plan going in is to give all three about the same amount of touches in the spring game. The competition, he added, will continue into fall camp regardless of what happens.

However, a good showing certainly won't hurt — for any player at any position.

It's important for everyone who is participating. There's no doubt about that," Whittingham said. "It's another chance to make plays and show what your capabilities are. Any time you're on the football field it's an important situation."

Opportunities should be plentiful.

Whittingham announced that several players will be held out for precautionary reasons and injuries. The list includes projected contributors James Aiono, Tony Bergstrom, Greg Bird, Sam Brenner, DeVonte Christopher, John Cullen, Vyncent Jones, Ryan Lacy, Star Lotulelei, Matt Martinez, Kendrick Moeai, Joape Pela, Dallin Rogers, Lei Talamaivao, Chaz Walker, J.J. Williams and Jordan Wynn.

Several others — Conroy Black, Brian Blechen, Joe Kruger and Derrick Shelby — will only play in the first half.

The game will consist of 10-minute quarters with a normal clock in the first half and a running clock in the second half.

There will be no kickoff or punt returns. The offense will have no limitations, but the defense can rush only four and drop seven back. Any deviations will result in a 15-yard penalty.

Offensive line coach Tim Davis and defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a will serve as head coaches of the Red and White teams, respectively. Davis will be assisted by Jay Hill, Brian Johnson, Aaron Roderick and Kalani Sitake. Kauha'aha'a's staff includes Norm Chow, Morgan Scalley and Dave Schramm.

There's more than pride on the line. The losing team and coaches will have to clean the University of Utah football facility on Monday.

EXTRA POINTS: Flag football games featuring the MUSS (11 a.m.) and the alumni (noon) will precede the Red-White contest. ... Former Utes Luther Elliss, Jordan Gross, Robert Johnson and Stevenson Sylvester will serve as celebrity judges for the Ultimate Tailgate Championship in the parking lot before the game. ... Johnson and Sylvester will sign autographs at the Fanzz store at the Gateway Mall later in the afternoon as part of a fundraiser for tsunami victims in Japan.

Red-White festivities

Rice-Eccles Stadium

MUSS flag football game, 11 a.m.

Alumni flag football game, noon

Red-White Game, 1 p.m.

Radio: 700 AM

email: dirk@desnews.com

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