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Utah football: Kyle Whittingham says Utes have right mentality heading into Oregon game

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12 2013 8:30 p.m. MST

Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson (7) runs for a gain   in Salt Lake City  Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson (7) runs for a gain in Salt Lake City Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s preparations for Saturday’s game at No. 6 Oregon are going well, according to head coach Kyle Whittingham. He noted that the team has a great attitude.

“As tough as things have been and as disappointing as things have been, they’re coming out here with the right mentality and today was an excellent day,” Whittingham said after Tuesday’s practice.

The Utes (4-5, 1-5), he explained, still have a lot to play for.

“We’re trying to get to a bowl game and that really right now is our No. 1 objective,” Whittingham said. “That’s something that everyone on this football team wants to do for the seniors.”

Utah Utes wide receiver Sean Fitzgerald (83) celebrates his touchdown with Utah Utes wide receiver Dres Anderson (6)   in Salt Lake City  Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.  Arizona State won 20-19.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Utes wide receiver Sean Fitzgerald (83) celebrates his touchdown with Utah Utes wide receiver Dres Anderson (6) in Salt Lake City Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Arizona State won 20-19. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

BACK ON THE FIELD: Injured tight end Jake Murphy, who is out with a broken wrist, was cleared to do some limited things in practice — but no live work. “It was great to have him out here,” Whittingham said. “He gives us a boost just with his personality.”

Murphy hasn’t played since the UCLA game on Oct. 3 and is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the regular season.

KICKING IT: Utah sophomore Tom Hackett, who leads the Pac-12 in punting with 44.3 yards per kick, had a career-long 70-yard punt in the Arizona State game.

“When I go out to punt the football I put a lot of pressure on myself to execute,” he said. “I just stroked it and got a nice roll off of it. I looked up and it went a little farther than what I’ve normally been doing. So it was just nice to get the result.”

EXTRA POINTS: The Utes practiced at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Tuesday. They normally practice there on Thursdays but switched days this week because of the high school playoffs. ... To prepare for Autzen Stadium, Utah is practicing with crowd noise blaring this week, particularly for the offense and special teams . . . Wide receiver Dres Anderson leads the Pac-12 with 20.1 yard per receptions. Defensive end Trevor Reilly is tied for first in fumbles recovered with three.

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