Utah players postponing New Year Celebration until Jan. 3

By By Tony Pizza, Sports Editor

By Tony Pizza, Sports Editor

NEW ORLEANS8212;By now you’ve probably heard that the Utah football team is in one of the prime spots to enjoy New Year’s Eve. Bourbon is world renowned for showing visitors a good time anytime of the year, but particularly around New Years and Marti Gras.

But you won’t find Utah players or coaches enjoying the festivities, let alone an alcoholic beverage, two days before arguably the biggest football game in school history.

“We’ve got a 12 o’clock curfews, so we’ll probably be in our rooms watching the ball drop,” a less-than-thrilled defensive back Robert Johnson said.

In all seriousness, Johnson and the rest of the players know they are in New Orleans on business. For Utah, New Years Eve will be a chance to rest from the last true practice before the Sugar Bowl. For some players, like Sean Smith, enjoying New Years Eve is all about the mindset.

“My New Years is going to be after our game, that’s when my New Years starts,” Smith said. “Hopefully we can come out with an win and then we can celebrate. Today is like the (Dec.) 28th, 29th or 30th. This is not the the 31st today.”

When asked if coaches would need to put colored tape on the players’ doors to ensure that nobody was over celebrating, most players just laughed.

“I don’t know what they are going to do, it’s a 12 o’clock curfew, that’s all I know,” Johnson said.

Sean Smith said he didn’t think coaches wouldn’t have to go that far.

“Coach Whit trusts us,” Smith said with a belly laugh. “We’ve been very responsible in the past bowl games that we’ve been to, so we’re not worried about it at all.”

Some players will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with the traditional New Year’s resolution. When asked what his New Year’s resolutions were, Brian Johnson said, “A win would be No. 1 on the list.”

Still, there are still a pieces of some players, like All-American kicker Louie Sakoda, that want to ring in the New Year the old fashion way. He didn’t even want to celebrate with a champagne toast or anything, just a simple way to add to the significance of playing a post New Year’s Eve bowl game, for just the third time in the team’s history8212;the 1939 Sun Bowl and the 2005 Fiesta Bowl were the other two.

“I went up to coach Whit and I go, “Is there anyway we can get a congregation of the team in the lobby or anything’ and he just looked at me and said, “New Years is overrated Louie. We’ve got this game and you’ve got the rest of your life8212;60 more New Years at least.”

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