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Utes ready for some football

Utah plays a waiting game as contest with Arizona approaches

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It's been almost a week since the University of Utah football team broke camp. School started this past Wednesday and the Utes have pretty much adopted a typical game-week routine ever since.

"We're so tired of beating on each other. We're out of camp mode, the two-a-day mode," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We're in season mode except there's no game to play."

That, however, will change Friday when the Utes open the season at Rice-Eccles Stadium against Arizona.

"Right now we're just waiting to play," Whittingham said. "It's a little bit frustrating."

Senior Steve Fifita agreed. He said the week before the first game is without a doubt the slowest seven days of the season. Anticipation is so high that most players don't get a lot of sleep.

"At first it seemed like we just left the Fiesta Bowl, but camp seems like it has been dragging on forever," Fifita said. "I think everybody is just ready to get down to playing."

Starting quarterback Brian Johnson seconded the motion.

"Definitely. I wish it was here tomorrow. We've been working hard for the past month or so. The past two weeks have been a grind," Johnson said. "It's time for all the hard work that we've put in throughout the summer to pay off."

The Utes will continue polishing things up when practice resumes this afternoon. They also work out Tuesday and Wednesday before a closed walkthrough on Thursday.

"We're just getting ready for Friday. We're getting kind of antsy," said Johnson, who noted that the offense is excited and ready to get the job done. "We're almost there. We've got a couple more days of preparation. We'll just keep going and keep grinding through that — come out, play hard everyday and be prepared for any situation."

The Utes, he added, are determined not to let anything surprise them on Friday.

Utah's defense is also going about its business. There's really nothing else to do, Fifita explained.

"We've got a lot of new faces, but I'm pretty confident. Everybody is starting to pick up the defense now," he said. "We've got the whole package in and I'm pretty confident in everybody's abilities."

Now, acknowledged safety Eric Weddle, it's time to play a game.

"We're excited to get on to the preparation phase for Arizona and not keep beating ourselves up against each other," he said. "We're working hard. We're just trying to get our minds set for Arizona."

The wait is almost over.


Season opener

Arizona at Utah

Friday, 6 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: Hot Ticket 700AM


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com