Utah Utes football notebook: Utes have plenty to get done during bye week

Published: Friday, Sept. 23 2011 6:44 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said there are a couple of things the Utes would like to accomplish in their bye week. The top priority is having guys get their legs back and healing up those who are nicked up.

"But at the same time you want to keep your edge and not let your mind wander too far away from football," Whittingham said while noting that Utah has a pretty good formula in place. The plan calls for daily lifting sessions and three days of practice, followed by giving the players Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. The coaches will spend the weekend recruiting.

"Wherever the bye week falls, we try to make it a positive regardless of the circumstances," Whittingham said. "So you put a positive spin on it and that's what we're doing."

Several players, like quarterback Jordan Wynn and left tackle John Cullen, are going home for a couple of days.

"I'll be in Southern California," said Cullen, who plans to see friends, relax and dine in his hometown. "(Our coaches will) probably be driving around my house and be 10 minutes away from me at times.

"I'm a little scared," he joked. "I don't want to run into them."

BUSTING IT UP: Utah running back John White acknowledged it was tough sledding early in last Saturday's 54-10 win at BYU. The Pac-12 rushing leader, who finished with 174 yards and three touchdowns, had just 57 yards and one score after three quarters

"I was just hitting concrete all day," White said. "But when you hit concrete a lot it usually breaks."

Fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 62 and 35 yards highlighted White's late outburst.

KICKING CAROUSEL: Despite missing a field goal and a PAT against BYU, Coleman Petersen is still Utah's placekicker. The situation at punter is a little more fluid with Nick Marsh and Sean Sellwood sharing duties.

"It's good strategy, isn't it?" Whittingham said while noting that the opposition doesn't know what to expect. "Who's going to punt me the ball?"

Whittingham stopped short of calling it musical chairs. He explained that special teams coordinator Jay Hill is just trying to piece it all together in the best fashion.

"So that's where we are right now," Whittingham said. "If somebody starts to separate themself as the season goes on, we'll adjust accordingly. But right now we're utilizing all three guys."

STEPPING UP: Whittingham was pleased with how Percy Taumoelau filled in for starting right tackle Tony Bergstrom, who injured his knee four plays into the BYU game. Taumoelau won 53 of the 66 plays he was in on.

"When a guy goes down, the next guy has got to step up and pick up the slack," Whittingham said before explaining that the Utes are making in-roads when it comes to upgrading their depth and talent to Pac-12 standards. "We're not as deep as we'd like to be at every position but we're working on that. Every year is a process."

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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