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Utah Utes football: Nai Fotu ready for reinstatement but will miss Game 1

Published: Monday, June 29 2015 9:30 p.m. MDT

Utah's Nai Fotu has done everything required of him following his suspension for a DUI in February.   (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Utah's Nai Fotu has done everything required of him following his suspension for a DUI in February. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham announced that senior defensive end/linebacker Nai Fotu, who had a DUI arrest in February, has been suspended for the Utes' season opener against Montana State on Thursday.

"He'll be on the sideline. He'll be with the team. He will not participate in the game," Whittingham said. "If everything goes smoothly then he'll be reinstated."

Whittingham added that Fotu has done everything they've asked of him and did so perfectly.

"If he had not done it perfect, it would a different situation," Whittingham said. "He has done everything that we've asked to the letter and so that's where we're at."

Fotu, who has been practicing with the team this fall, was suspended immediately after his arrest and was not allowed to participate in spring ball. Barring a setback, the game suspension will finish off the disciplinary action against Fotu.

"We'll miss him this first game," Whittingham said. "But there's accountability with everything you do and this is the situation for him."

Fotu missed the entire 2010 season with a knee injury. In his first three seasons at Utah, he tallied 69 tackles, including 12.5 behind the line of scrimmage.

READY TO GO: Offensive coordinator Norm Chow acknowledged that the Utes have been in game-mode ever since camp ended a week ago.

"They're awfully excited to get going," Chow said. "It's a proud group of guys and I think we'll be ready."

As for the offense, specifically, Chow expressed confidence that they'll be fine.

"It's an exciting time for everybody," he said.

PRACTICE REPORT: Friday was a light day with no gear for the Utes. They practiced for about an hour before spending 45 minutes on a mock game routine, including halftime and sideline procedures.

"It wasn't a physical day," Whittingham said. "It was just a lot of information to take in."

EXTRA POINTS: The competition at kicker between Nick Marsh and Coleman Petersen will continue Saturday and Monday before a final decision will likely be made. ... Whittingham said wide receiver Anthony Denham, who has been sidelined with a hamstring pull throughout much of camp, is about 80 percent healthy. He's been practicing, but not at full speed. His status for Thursday's season opener is doubtful. ... The annual "Fan Fest" is Saturday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The football team is expected to arrive at noon, following practice.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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