Clint Mower resides in relative anonymity.

Despite making significant and consistent contributions to the University of Utah football team, the senior doesn't get a lot of recognition. Such is life for the guy who does all the snaps on punts and placekicks for the Utes.

"It's not a high profile position because it's not necessarily the most technically skilled position," Mower said. "But it is something you have to refine."

And Mower has. He literally sets up the success of All-American Louie Sakoda.

"I don't mind living in his shadow. But I do take a lot of pride in what I do," Mower said. "(Louie's) great. We're good friends. Our group (which includes holder Bradon Godfrey) gets along real well. He's a hard worker."

Sakoda has good things to say in return.

"He's a stud. He makes my life easy both on field goals and punts," Sakoda said. "You see teams where snaps are all over the place and that's just another thing kickers have to worry about. Having them there every time let's me focus on everything I need to."

Working relationships between a snapper-kicker and a snapper-holder, he added, include an unspoken bond of sorts.

"You're almost on the same brainwave sometimes," Sakoda explained. "He'll be thinking the same thing, and everything out there is just automatic."

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said that's the way is supposed to be.

"You don't realize the snappers until they mess up. As long as they're doing their job they don't get much credit or much recognition. But when they mess up, boy it's a disaster," Whittingham said while noting that Mower has been a valuable commodity for the Utes. "Clint has done a great job for us the last couple of years. We're lucky to have him, Louie and Bradon Godfrey. That kicking battery, I guess you can call them, are all back for their senior years."

It's an aspect of Utah's game that is in very good hands.

"We've got an All-American kicker in Louie and that makes my job and Mower's job easy when he's making them all. It makes us all look good," Godfrey said. "I think we've got good chemistry. I think we work really well together."

Not everyone, though, shares in the publicity.

Sakoda has earned a lot of accolades and more are expected. Godfrey doesn't get a lot of attention as a holder, but he does draw notice as one of Utah's top receivers. Mower, meanwhile, labors outside the spotlight — even though the former walk-on has earned a scholarship for his skills.

"It's definitely a position that get much notice or glory," said Sakoda, who pointed out that Mower plays a two-fold part in Utah's net punting success.

"Mower is the first guy down there on punts. He makes countless tackles," Sakoda continued. "People don't realize that he forces the punt returner to make moves he doesn't want to."

Whether its punts or placekicking, Mower plays a pivotal part in Utah's scheme.

"It all starts with Clint Mower on the line," said Godfrey, who stressed the importance of a good snap. "It's a thankless job. He plays a huge role because that's where it all starts."

Mower began his career as a long snapper in ninth grade because someone on his team needed to do it. He didn't perfect his skills, however, until he arrived at Utah, where he is slated to start for a third-consecutive season.

"I really learned how to snap — all the technique and everything, the fundamentals of it," said Mower, who played for Dixie State as a freshman. He was a running back and safety at Lone Peak High School. "First thing, you've got to have speed on the ball."

A skill, he added, that can't necessarily be coached.

"I've never looked at it as a big deal until I did only this. So it's just kind of what you do," Mower said. "It's not that hard, really. But you've got to do it well."

EXTRA POINTS: The Utes took Sunday off. They'll practice twice today at the Ute Baseball Field with sessions scheduled for the morning and afternoon ... The first scrimmages of camp are planned for Tuesday and Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium ... Camp is closed to the public.


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com