It was a good day. We’re seven days out, so it’s like a bonus day, I guess you could say, as far as game week. Tomorrow we’ll treat it like a Monday and then work from there. —Utah coach Kyle Whittingham
SALT LAKE CITY — Camp is complete for the Utah Utes. It came to an end with the close of double days on Wednesday.
“We’re into game mode and so it’s a different schedule,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said after an 80-minute practice Thursday afternoon, exactly one week before the season opener against Idaho State at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“It was a good day. We’re seven days out, so it’s like a bonus day, I guess you could say, as far as game week,” Whittingham added. “Tomorrow we’ll treat it like a Monday and then work from there.”
The Utes, he explained, are trying to do two things right now — polish up and get everyone’s legs back.
“It’s a fine line,” Whittingham said. “You’ve got to be able to try to do both — get them fresh, but get the work done you need to get done and that’s the line we’re walking right now.”
As such, Whittingham decide to scrap a third fall scrimmage for the second-straight year. It’s always debatable, he said, and after coming out of camp really healthy the risk/reward aspect had to be weighed.
All things considered, Whittingham said he’d rather error on the side of having the team fresh. Just as they did a year ago, the Utes are following a modified routine as the season approaches. Whittingham noted that the players liked having a less front-end loaded plan. The new model is based on training techniques from Olympic athletes and other teams they’ve talked to. He said Oregon may have been the first team to have used it.
Football preparations, meanwhile, continue.
“We’re just getting our game plan together,” said senior receiver Dres Anderson. “We’re doing a lot of game-scheming, so just doing that — crisping up on everything we’re doing.”
The Utes, he continued, are working on things like two-minute and red-zone situations.
Anderson said they also aren’t looking past Idaho State, even if the Bengals are an FCS program. He explained that Utah will go into each game like it’s the Super Bowl.
“We’re taking every opponent seriously. No matter who it is,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
UTE PROUD: The Utah athletics department and the Ute Indian Tribe announced the launching of a “Ute Proud” campaign. It’ll kick off in earnest Saturday at the annual fan fest at Rice-Eccles Stadium, from 6-9 p.m.
“Ute Proud” T-shirts will be available for $20 with all proceeds benefitting Ute Indian scholarships and youth programs. On Aug. 23, the T-shirts will be sold at the U. bookstore and Red Zone shops.
A video hosted by Forrest Cuch of the Ute Indian Tribe, which can now be seen on YouTube, will be played at all Utah athletic events this year. A series of educational cards will also be distributed to help fans learn more about the Ute Indian Tribe.
More information on the program can also be found at UtahUtes.com/UteProud and UteTribe.com.
“We feel honored to represent the Ute Tribe,” Utah athletics director Dr. Chris Hill said in a released statement. “Our teams, coaches, staff and the entire university community hope our fans will join us in representing the Utes with dignity and respect at all times, and proudly saying ‘Go Utes!’”
TRIBUTE GAME: When the Utah Utes host Arizona on Nov. 22, they’ll be sporting helmets that include the Ute Indian tribal seal. It’s part of a “Native American Heritage Awareness” promotion affiliated with the “Ute Proud” campaign.
Other announced activities include the presentation of the game ball to a Ute Indian Tribe representative, the Ute Honor Guard presenting the national colors, and a halftime performance by the tribe’s “Pow Wow” committee.
“I think it’s a good deal,” Whittingham said. “I know that we’re elated that we’re able to use the drum-and-feather and that our relationship with the Ute Tribe is very good right now and we hope that continues. That’s a healthy thing, I think, for us and them.”
SCOUT-A-RAMA: As usual, Utah keeps NFL scouts out of practice until one week prior to the season opener. On Thursday, Whittingham estimates that scouts from seven or eight teams — including the Broncos, Panthers, Jets, Chiefs and Chargers — were on hand to watch the Utes work out.
“It’s always a little bit of a motivational factor for the players to see the scouts out there watching them and taking notes and watching their every move,” said Whittingham, who likes having the scouts around and evaluating the guys.
A HAIR-DON’T: Whittingham’s son Alex, a redshirt freshman linebacker, has been sporting an unconventional hairstyle during camp.
“Ask his mom about that. Talk to his mom,” Kyle said. “I don’t get it, but whatever. All I’m concerned with is how he plays.”
EXTRA POINTS: Whittingham said that sophomore Domo Hatfield is doing a really nice job at both wideout and cornerback. “He’s a guy that has really stepped it up this fall camp,” Whittingham added. ... The “Training Camp Olympics” continued with the “Ice Cream Man” competition after practice. Whittingham joked that there was a lot of controversy, however, in the ice cream sandwich eating contest. “We’re going to review the film and see what has to happen,” he said. ... According to Whittingham, there have been no changes on the depth chart this week. ... The football team has chosen to sing “Utah Man” by its original and not recently altered lyrics after games this season.