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Ute kicker learned through teaching

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Ute senior kicker Golden Whetman, who will be busy doing kickoffs, place kicks and punts, is having a fine fall camp. "Everything is effortless," he says. "I feel awesome right now."

And he has a bunch of high-school kids to thank for it. At least partly to thank, anyway.

Whetman helped out teaching during the three local Mark Adams kicking camps for preps this summer. "Teaching those kids helped me a lot," Whetman said.

The former Kearns High and Ricks College product also spent time this summer losing weight and working on his nutrition, flexibility and torso strength.

He says he's making 95 percent of his place-kicks but needs a little work on his punting; he needs to get the ball to "break over" as it comes down so that it takes an extra 5-yard roll if it hits the ground.

Whetman did kickoffs and scoring kicks last year for the first five games. At Ricks, he was a second-team All-American punter who averaged 44.5 yards a punt. His average in practices now is about 42 yards, but he says some of that is because coaches want him to kick to the returners in practice. In games, he may kick away from returners.

STILL WAITING: For those awaiting an announcement of Utah's starting quarterback, be prepared. It might not come until he runs onto the Rice-Eccles Stadium field Saturday night at 7 or thereabouts to meet Arizona. Utah coach Ron McBride says he wants to keep his former employer, Arizona coach Dick Tomey, wondering about the starter's identity as long as possible.

"I don't want the other team to know, bottom line," McBride said.

Offensive coordinator Tommy Lee told Darnell Arceneaux and T.D. Croshaw on Monday which of them will start against Arizona, and McBride is hoping that it will remain a secret. Both practiced with the first team on Monday.

Both quarterbacks appear to be throwing better this fall than they did last year after spending the summer working out hard and having a real competition for the job, McBride said. When there's a battle going on, the coach added, "You've got to be good every day."

'CAT TALK: The Arizona Daily Star ran a scouting report on Monday on the Utes. One topic was that Utah, with its two-headed quarterback situation, is a little like Arizona last year, when it kept opponents guessing whether they'd see Ortege Jenkins or Keith Smith starting. Now, of course, Smith is gone and Jenkins may be the best QB Utah will face in 2000.

Tomey says the 'Cats will simply prepare for both Croshaw and Arceneaux and told the Star that he doesn't see the situation so similar after all because, while Jenkins and Smith had much the same talents, Arceneaux and Croshaw are very different. Arceneaux's the improviser, and Croshaw's the conventional drop-back style.

Arizona offensive coordinator Dino Babers said in the Star article that he's much impressed with Ute senior cornerback Andre Dyson. "You can't beat him," he told writer Kristen Davis. Babers said he watched every 1999 Ute game on film, and, "I only saw two guys catch a pass on the guy. One guy, (Dyson) ran behind him and knocked the ball out, and the other guy caught the pass (after Dyson) missed the interception. That's out of the whole year."

Arizona should be closely watching Utah's Dysons, Andre and Patrick. Last time these two teams met, some freshman named Dyson caught a desperation pass in the end zone to beat the Wildcats 16-13 in the 1994 Freedom Bowl in Anaheim. That was older brother Kevin Dyson, now a Tennessee Titan who was one yard shy of beating St. Louis in the Super Bowl in January.

ISN'T THAT . . . ? Versatile junior Mike Richardson will again wear two uniform numbers, depending upon where he's playing. The starting tight end, Richardson will wear No. 90. When he moves inside to fill in at center or guard, he'll go back to his old No. 56. Richardson became the starting tight end for the Las Vegas Bowl, due to injuries, and he had to wear a tight-end-like number to do it. So, no, he's really not doing it just to confuse the Wildcats and anybody watching from Mesa, Ariz., where he played high-school ball.

TIDBITS: Some 45,000 are expected for Saturday night's game to also be shown nationally on ESPN2. Actual available seats number 45,634. . . . Utah enters the game on a three-game win streak. That includes last December's Las Vegas Bowl victory over Fresno State, a win at BYU and a win in the final R-ES game of '99 against New Mexico. . . . Two current Ute players were on the '94 Freedom Bowl squad, even if they didn't play in that victory over UA. Starting slotback Chris Christensen was a redshirt that year, and safety Brandon Dart played one game that season before a season-ending back injury that started his long road toward the extremely rare seventh year of NCAA eligibility that Dart is using in 2000.


E-mail: lham@desnews.com