SALT LAKE CITY — Unlike most years, there won't be a big Thanksgiving bash at the Kruger home in Utah County. Most of the family, with the exception of University of Utah defensive linemen Dave and Joe Kruger, are in Baltimore to watch older sibling Paul and the Ravens face Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers.
Things, obviously, will be different this year. Joe acknowledged he'll miss the ton of food, laughter and Turkey Bowl associated with the traditional family gathering.
However, even if the NFL schedule were different, it would have been an abbreviated situation for the Kruger brothers this time around. The Utes have to report to the football facility up on the hill by 3 p.m., to wrap up final preparations for Friday afternoon's game against Colorado.
"Football does not stop for holidays," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "That's just how it is."
Thanksgiving interruptions are something the Utes may need to get used to. Whittingham said the Pac-12 apparently plans to schedule games on the Friday following the holiday every year. They're home this season, but will likely be on the road (probably in Colorado) next time around.
Being in Salt Lake City, though, allows the players a little down time until the afternoon and a normal routine prior to game day.
"Then we'll have a nice second turkey dinner for them that evening as a football team," Whittingham said. "Then we've got to go about our business. We can't deviate from the routine. We've just got to stick to what's been good for us."
BLACK FRIDAY: The post-Thanksgiving shopping event is news to Whittingham. He claims to know nothing about the frenzy that follows the holiday.
"I haven't been in a mall in 20-plus years," he said. "It's the honest truth."
When told about people getting up early to score good deals on things like televisions, Whittingham made his stance clear.
"I can promise you I won't be at Walmart on Friday," he said. "I can promise you that."
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