SALT LAKE CITY — Wide receiver Dres Anderson and defensive end Nate Orchard will be Utah’s player representatives at next month’s Pac-12 media days at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California. They’ll be joined at the gathering by head coach Kyle Whittingham and representatives from the other 11 teams in the conference.
“It’s an honor for both of those players,” said Whittingham, who praised Anderson and Orchard for their success athletically and academically. “Both those guys have paid the price and done everything that’s been asked of them and both, hopefully, are ready to have big senior years for us.”
Anderson led the Pac-12 with 18.9 yards per catch in 2013 and became the seventh receiver in school history to reach 1,000 yards in a season, finishing with 1,002.
Orchard earned Athlon National Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording two sacks and two forced fumbles in last year’s 27-21 upset over No. 5 Stanford.
LATE ARRIVALS: Wide receiver Kaelin Clay, a transfer from Mount San Antonio (California) College with one year of eligibility remaining, is still trying to finish off all of his responsibilities academically.
Whittingham said if everything is wrapped up in the next couple of weeks, Clay has the opportunity to participate in the Utes’ summer program. If not, Clay will join the team for fall camp.
“We’re still optimistic, but he is not with us yet,” Whittingham said.
Defensive lineman Pasoni Tasini of Snow College, who is also completing schoolwork, could also be a late summer arrival.
TAKING A BREAK: Whittingham and the coaching staff are using the NCAA-mandated dead period over the first two weeks of July to get away for a little bit and spend time with their families — taking a break from the football world.
“We’ll get out of town and do a few things,” Whittingham said.
KISS LIKES THE UTES: It didn’t take any coaxing to get Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and the rest of the band Kiss to show their support for the Utes. They were more than happy to flash U. hand signs while posing for a picture with Whittingham, his brother and director of player personnel Fred, as well as a couple of Utah fans who joined the fun at Monday’s concert at the USANA Amphitheatre.
Kyle suggested that everyone “flash a U.” and Stanley said: “For the Utes?”
Whittingham responded “absolutely” and noted that everyone knew what was going on from there.
“Good guys,” he said, adding that Kiss is a band on his playlist.