Football Notebook: Utes, fans prep for bowl

By Christopher Kamrani, Asst. Sports Editor

Make sure to get ’em while they’re hot

No. 6 Utah accepted an invitation to the Allstate Sugar Bowl against No. 4 Alabama on Jan. 2. Tickets went on sale Sunday night after the Utes held their Bowl Championship Series Selection party at Rice-Eccles Tower. Ticket purchases are only open to Crimson Club members, season ticket holders and Alumni Association members. Tickets for the general public for the Louisiana Superdome go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. The Superdome, which holds a maximum of 72,968 during a football event, will have seats for the Utes8212;the “visitors” during the game8212;on the south end zone and east side of the dome. The gates nearest to the Utah section are gates C and E.

Not so fast, coach

Although the surprise of Sunday night was Utah’s matchup with the Crimson Tide, there was another surprise that presented the Utes with a step in a new direction8212;inside linebackers coach Kalani Sitake was named defensive coordinator. Head coach Kyle Whittingham saved the news for the end of the public address and Sitake accepted in a room full of Crimson Club members and alumni. Sitake will not coach the defense in New Orleans.

Gary Andersen, who is departing to take Utah State’s head coach position, will hold the reigns of the defense against Alabama, and Sitake will officially be Utah’s man after the Sugar Bowl.

Practice, schedules, traveling, etc.

The Utes resumed workouts and short practices last week. The practices will start to become more like a typical practice schedule. Utah’s practices will take place inside the indoor practice facility in accordance with the weather.

Two faces will be missing from practices this week, as head coach Kyle Whittingham and kicker-punter Louie Sakoda will be traveling across the country to various award ceremonies. Sakoda left for New York Monday morning to attend the Draddy Award, which is presented to a senior player with outstanding academics as well as accomplishments on the field. Whittingham will join Sakoda in New York and then both will take off from the Big Apple and head south to Orlando, Fla., where the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards are being presented. Special teams coordinator Jay Hill will accompany Sakoda and Whittingham.

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