Football Notebook: BYU

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Football Notebook: BYU

University of Utah offense lines up against Brigham Young University during an NCAA Football game at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah offense lines up against Brigham Young University during an NCAA Football game at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah offense lines up against Brigham Young University during an NCAA Football game at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah offense lines up against Brigham Young University during an NCAA Football game at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora

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It’s finally game week for the No. 14 University of Utah football team. Head coach Kyle Whittingham took to the podium for the first time this season on Monday morning. He addressed the media on everything from position battles and who will be ready to go come Thursday to the importance of rivalry games.

Whittingham stated Monday that senior Zack Moss and junior Britain Covey will be ready to play week one. Covey is coming off of a knee injury last season, while Moss is coming off knee surgery as well.

“They will be ready to roll. We are looking forward to having them back. That is a lot of offensive production that you just mentioned and it is great to have them back,” Whittingham said to the media. 

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake also held a press conference on Monday. When asked whether or not senior tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau will be available on Thursday night, he said that he will be ready to go as well.

Both coaches addressed the importance of opening the game off with a quality opponent.

“We are given 12 opportunities,” Sitake said. “The preparation sparks a little bit more excitement for the players but us coaches our job is to get this team to be the best they possibly could be.” 

“The rivalry game is always a big deal in the state. Most years, it is the biggest event of the entire year. No conference implications, obviously with the way things are set up now, but always bragging rights has an impact on some of the in-state recruiting. Every game is a big deal,” Whittingham said. 

Even though this will be the first week both the Utah Utes and the BYU Cougars take the field, there were a pair of games that took place last weekend. Florida defeated Miami 24-20, while Arizona lost a messy game in Honolulu to Hawaii, 45-38. Whittingham stressed the importance of protecting the ball and avoiding penalties in his presser.

“In an opener, you want to try and eliminate as much chaos as you can and if you just play hard, it will cover up the mistakes that you do make. The opener is always a lot of unknowns, no matter who you are playing, and you have to be ready for just a broad spectrum of possibilities because they’ve had all offseason to change things up,” he said. 

Whittingham also announced that senior Tareke Lewis had won the corner position across from junior Jaylon Johnson. Lewis edged out senior Josh Nurse for the position, but stated that both will see time on the field this season. 

You’ll see both Josh and Tareke in the game because it was that close. Another guy, JaTravis Broughton, a freshman who is really coming along, now whether or not he will get any game time on defense that remains to be seen. That was a close battle though. Tareke played just slightly better than Josh for more of fall camp, but where Josh Nurse is right now compared to when he made the transition to defensive back is night and day. We are very proud of what he has done there,” he said. 

It was also announced today that freshman Jordan Willmore and sophomore Devin Brumfield will be taking reps from the backfield to relieve the workload off Moss this season. 

Utah will kick off the season this Thursday, Aug. 29 when they head down the road to take on BYU at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Kick is set for 8:15 pm.

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