Utah vs. BYU from a Utah insider perspective

By Charles Kano

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 13 2011 1:00 p.m. MDT

Gunther: I hope not. It’s a rivalry game, for heaven's sake. I understand that players need to keep things under control during the game, but there is no need to tell adults in the stands how to act. No one cares about the score from a Colorado State or San Diego State game, but everyone remembers the rivalry game. They remember the big plays and the score every year.

Dyer: I hope so. We talk about this on our show and a lot of the stuff that happens at Rice-Eccles is uncalled for and inappropriate. I call on Utah fans to make this rivalry game a lot better. There will always be the one guy that ruins it for everyone on both sides.

What is your most memorable rivalry moment?

Gunther: Unfortunately, both years that I played down there in Provo we lost. But I remember in 2007 in the 4th and 19 game, the fans gave me the business in the politest way possible. One little kid kept saying, "Hey Ute, you stink." And I was like, "Yeah, I do. I am playing football and sweating." Another guy leaned over the railing and said, "Nice beer gut, Gunther." He called me by name. We had some incredible games in Lavell Edwards Stadium, but my favorite memories are of the incredibly kind grief I got from the fans.

Dyer: There have been a lot of memories, both good and bad. I would have to say last year was is the most memorable because it is so recent. The team was really down and just seemed like the air had gone out, and then Burton blocked that kick and it was just an amazing finish.

BYU fans see Rice-Eccles Stadium as a hostile place to play. Do Ute fans feel the same way about Lavell Edwards Stadium?

Gunther: Lavell Edwards Stadium is a hostile place to play because of how loud it gets. I would rank it up there as one of the three loudest places I have ever played. It is not hostile in terms of the fans because they are so dang nice. It is really creepy when some old guy greets you at the entrance to the stadium, shakes your hand and wishes you good luck against his team. It’s also awkward because they have no caffeine in that place. If I don’t get my coffee in the morning I can get pretty hostile. Maybe that is what they need at Lavell Edwards Stadium to make their fans hostile.

Dyer: I think you get a mixed perspective. It certainly is a tough place to play football because the fans are really loud. I have not been to any games at Lavell Edwards Stadium except for the rivalry games, but I have to think the place is a little louder when the crimson and cream come to town. From a visiting fan perspective, most BYU fans are pretty nice, but I hate that me being loud and cheering for my team is taken as a personal insult to BYU fans.

Does the routine change in Ute camp for the game against BYU?

Gunther: The routine changes in very minor ways. Usually during any given week at Utah the TVs show whatever sporting events are on ESPN. During rivalry week Coach Whittingham plays a highlight reel of all the great Utah plays in the rivalry game from the past. Players like Kautai Olevao blowing up Ronnie Jenkins or Paul Kruger picking off Max Hall; I think he is still open.

Urban Meyer was really out there when he was at Utah putting Cosmo the Cougar pictures in the urinals and putting BYU jerseys by the door for us to walk over when we left the building. Coach Whittingham has been much classier in how he manages that.

Dyer: Ute fans are not as amped for this one. We were up at the press conference today and it seems like the Utes are playing this game down. BYU fans in contrast seem excited about the game. One thing is for certain: It doesn’t have a typical rivalry feel. There just isn’t the passion there.

What has been learned about this Utah team after their first Pac-12?

Gunther: I think we have learned that Utah has some playmakers emerging and that their defense is very much as good as we thought they would be, especially at stopping the run. I think Utah has the athletes and can compete in the Pac-12, I just think they are not deep enough yet. I think they are just a few good recruiting classes away.

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