Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott says he's pleased with the progress Utah has made since joining the conference in 2011. More importantly, he likes where the Ute athletic teams are headed.
Scott addressed the media prior to Thursday night's kickoff and was roundly positive when discussing the Utah athletic program.
“The integration of Utah within the conference has been terrific,” Scott said. “Culturally, academically and administratively it’s (fit) in very, very well. It’s really gone without incident ... and I've seen a lot of progress.”
Athletic success hasn't come quickly for the Utes in their new conference, but Scott believes it will come with time.
“In terms of athletic competition and success, there weren’t really metrics that we set out,” he explained. “When you expand, when you take new teams into the conference, you really have to do it with a long-term view. When we looked at Utah, we looked at how compatible they were academically and athletically, and over time we know they’re going to have their share of success.”
ANDERSON’S ARMY: Several members of Utah wide receiver Dres Anderson’s family made the journey from California to Utah for Thursday's game between Utah and UCLA, including his father, Flipper, who played for UCLA before a lengthy career in the NFL.
“They’re all supporting the Utes,” Dres said earlier in the week.
Anderson’s uncle Paco Craig, who also played for UCLA, wasn’t able to make the trip but told Dres he had a party set up at his house in California to watch and cheer on Utah.
Because of the family ties, Dres acknowledged that he wanted to play for the Bruins when he was a little kid. When it came to making a final decision, though, Anderson opted to wear red instead — despite making a recruiting visit to UCLA.
“At the time I just felt that Utah was a better fit,” he said.
It’s a move, Anderson added, that he has no regrets about making.
EXTRA POINTS: The parents of Nick Pasquale, the UCLA player who was killed in an auto-pedestrian accident last month, flew to Salt Lake City with the parents of Utah quarterback Travis Wilson. The players were best friends. ... Scouts from the NFL’s Bengals, Buccaneers, Chargers, Chiefs, Falcons, 49ers, Jets, Packers, Ravens, Saints, Steelers, Texans and Vikings attended the game — as did a scout from the CFL’s B.C. Lions. ... Players, coaches and staff from the Utah Jazz ate dinner and watched the game from the Crocker Room (an enclosed area in the south end zone).
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