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Ute linebacker corps shows unity with some unusual blond hairdos

Senior linebacker Stevenson Sylvester said it was a decision "to do something drastic." As a show of unity, Utah's linebacking corps showed up for the first day of camp with blond hairdos.

And truth be told, some could easily be classified as hair-don'ts.

A couple of defensive backs captured the spirit of the venture by having the letters "ATC" shaved on their domes. It stands for "Air Traffic Control," a moniker assistant coach Aaron Alford gave them.

"Everybody just joined," said Sylvester, who looked imposing with his blond Mohawk cut. "We're having fun with it."

Middle linebacker Mike Wright didn't think he could pull off the Mohawk look, so he sported completely bleached blond hair instead. Teammate Chad Manis opted for a look Dennis Rodman would appreciate.

"It's something fun to do and unify the linebacking corps," Wright said.

THE LINE IS FINE: Senior defensive end KoaMisi said the Utes will be able to overcome the loss of junior college All-AmericanJamesAiono, who is completing academic work and won't enroll at the U. until January. The lineman was expected to help fill the void left by PaulKruger's departure to the NFL.

"I think we're good. We have a lot of good players — a lot of good defensive linemen, a lot of depth," said Misi, who made the MountainWest's preseason all-conference team. "We have new guys coming in and if they learn their stuff, we should be pretty good at that position."

ITISWHATITIS: Quarterback JordanWynn, a true freshman who graduated early and began attending classes at the U. last January, was asked about the transition.

"College is college. It's fun. Sometimes I miss my friends, family," said Wynn, who noted he did fly back home to attend his high school prom last spring. "But I'm out here playing the sport I love for free. So it doesn't get much better."

EXTRAPOINTS: Junior college transfers MaxwellLacy and RayMagee missed the first day of camp while completing academic requirements. Whittingham predicted it could be two weeks before their status is finalized. Lacy is a defensive back and Magee is a wide receiver. ... LinebackerMoNeal left the practice field early because of muscle cramps. FormerUteLouieSakoda stopped by practice. While awaiting professional football opportunities, he plans to continue his education and possibly assist Utah's kickers and punters. ... All practices and scrimmages are closed to the public.

e-mail: dirk@desnews.com