As usual, there are plenty of divided households and other ties when Utah and BYU square off.
None, however, may have the impact that Ute assistants and ex-Cougars Aaron Roderick and Kalani Sitake bring to the table. Roderick calls Utah's offensive plays and Sitake is the defensive coorodinator.
"They both have extensive backgrounds in the offense at BYU and they know a lot of the details and subtle nuances that you need to know to be able to defend it," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "They were both in that program for several years as graduate assistants and players."
Although both have long since moved on, Whittingham still sees it as a benefit.
"Even though things evolve and they're not exactly like they were back then, there are still a lot of the same principles and philosophies they've hung on to," he explained. "And that helps to have guys with that background."
They're not alone.
Whittingham is a former Cougar as well. He was the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a linebacker in 1981.
Other ties between the teams include the Kaufusi brothers — Steve (BYU defensive line coach) and Jason (Utah graduate assistant) — as well as playing cousins Brad Clifford (Utah) and Parker Mangum (BYU).
In addition, Utah walk-on Lolo Tenifa is a BYU transfer.
RUSHING MILESTONE: Junior running back Eddie Wide needs 82 yards Saturday to become the 11th 1,000-yard rusher in Ute football history. He enters the game averaging 83.5 yards per outing.
"Yeah. I think I can do that," Wide said. "It's a big thing. Everyone wants to hit the 1,000 mark. So I'm just going to go out, give it my all and hopefully just get it."
Utah's other 1,000-yard rushers include: Carl Monroe (1,507), Dameon Hunter (1,204), Darrell Mack (1,204), Mike Anderson (1,173), Del "Popcorn" Rodgers (1,127), Quinton Ganther (1,120), Keith Williams (1,076) and Eddie Lewis (1,018). Eddie Johnson did it twice, gaining 1,046 in 1986 and 1,021 in 1984.
COUGAR COMPLIMENT: Whittingham had nice things to say about what's been happening at his alma mater.
"They're certainly doing a good job with the win-loss record. They've won a bunch of games," he said. "It's very, very similar to what coach (LaVell) Edwards had going back in the '80s and '90s."
EXTRA POINTS: The Utes practiced at Rice-Eccles Stadium Tuesday. They were inside the Spence Eccles Field House on Monday ... Utah is 7-1 all-time in games where both teams were ranked. The lone blemish was this year's 55-28 loss at TCU ... The Utes have won six of the past eight games in Provo against BYU.
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