Owning an 0-2 record in bowl games the last two years, Utah is determined to come away with a victory in next week's Freedom Bowl game. At the same time, the Utes are determined to enjoy themselves more while getting ready for Tuesday's big game against No. 15 Arizona.

This week they've been practicing every morning at Golden West Junior College. But Ute players have had their afternoons free to do what as they please in the pleasant Southern California weather.Buses have been available for players to go to places such as the beach or to the mall. Some players have preferred to go to the pool or to play games or watch television in their rooms.

On Thursday, most of the Utes spent the afternoon experiencing the thrills of rides such as Montezooma's Revenge and the Boomerang at Knott's Berry Farm. Saturday they'll have a chance to go to Disneyland, which is just a half mile from their digs at the Anaheim Marriott. While they did similar activities last year, according to some Utes the attitude is different this year.

"We're a lot more laid-back this year," said quarterback Mike McCoy. "The majority of us have been to a bowl game and we know what it's like. The coaches have learned a lot and so have the players."

"We're more relaxed this year," added center Lance Scott, a starter on both of the last two bowl teams. "But we're also more serious in practice. We know when its play time and when its practice time."

All-American defensive tackle Luther Elliss agrees that the Utes are having "more fun" this year as well as being more serious.

"Everybody's been practicing hard. We have a lot riding on this," said Elliss. "When you start going to bowl games, you need to start winning. With a win, we can establish ourselves as one of the elites and maybe get into the top 10."

Coach Ron McBride seems more relaxed and even hosted a game of Monopoly with three players Wednesday night in the Presidential Suite on the 19th floor. But he claims the routine is similar to last year and doesn't believe the team is any more relaxed this year.

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"They're more confident and feel better about themselves this year," said McBride, who doesn't like the impression that the Utes are having too much fun.

But McCoy believes the team's increased laid-back attitude can make a difference come game time. In the last two bowl games, the Utes came out tense and fell behind early 21-0 against Washington State and 28-0 against USC.

"It should be different this year," said McCoy.

BOWL NOTES: Arizona didn't arrive in Anaheim until Wednesday - three days after the Utes - because this was test week at the university. The Wildcats are practicing at Orange Coast College . . . Arizona quarterback Dan White didn't throw in practice last week because of tendinitis in his throwing shoulder . . . Except for the broken ankle suffered by Jeff Kirkman in practice Saturday, the Utes have been injury-free during their bowl preparations . . . Betting money has been favoring the Utes so far - the line on the game is 4 points after starting at 51/2 for Arizona . . . The Washington Redskins, in town to play the Los Angeles Rams, are staying at the same hotel as Utah.

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