Ute football: Utah's Trevor Reilly, Jake Murphy making statements as team leaders
“It was a rough one,” Murphy said of the offseason. “A rough one for sure.”
In two seasons of conference play in the Pac-12, Utah is 7-11. The record includes five setbacks of 10 points or less, including three last season — USC (38-28), UCLA (21-14) and Arizona (34-24).
“A lot of those games we were in them. We’re in those games and we feel like we can win those games,” Murphy said. “We just need to close those games and get that win. It’s definitely motivating.”
Another component is also in play.
“We’re determined to get this thing right and the biggest component to achieving that is through recruiting,” said Whittingham, who estimates that three-quarters of the players who signed with Utah over the past two years did so because of the school's Pac-12 affiliation. “... We feel like our recruiting has been ramped up and we’re hoping to see that manifest in the upcoming years.”
While noting that everything circles back to that aspect, Whittingham admits that losses the past two seasons have been frustrating.
“But we’ve got a job to do and we’re doing everything we can to get that job done,” he said.
EXTRA POINTS: Murphy and Reilly are on preseason national watch lists for the Mackey (top tight end) and Butkus (top linebacker) awards. ... Murphy has dropped his weight from 260 to 250 with 10 percent body fat to become quicker and have more flexibility. Fellow tight end Westlee Tonga has also gotten more lean. ... Utah officials are reporting a season-ticket renewal rate of 98 percent for the third-consecutive year. ... The Utes have no plans to overhaul their current uniforms until 2014.
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