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Utes’ kicker competition narrowed to two

Strauch, Haltom basting it out for the job.

Utah kicker Andrew Strauch during fall camp earlier this month.
Utah kicker Andrew Strauch follows through on a kick attempt during Utes practice Friday, Aug. 2, 2019.
Courtesy Utah Athletics

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s search for a new kicker has been pared down to two. Head coach Kyle Whittingham told reporters Wednesday that Andrew Strauch and Nels Haltom will battle it out for the top spot as the Utes gear up for their Aug. 29 season opener at BYU.

“Those are the two guys that are still in the mix right now,” Whittingham said.

After last Saturday’s scrimmage, Whittingham expressed a desire to get the field of competitors down to two as the final week of camp approached. Although the kickers had yet to separate themselves, Whittingham said he might have to cut one of three competitors from the herd “just on gut feel.”

Walk-on Jadon Redding wound up being the odd man out. Strauch is a graduate transfer from UCLA and Haltom, a Bountiful High graduate, played for Grossmont College in California.

Utah kicker Nels Haltom follows through on a kick attempt during Utes practice Friday, Aug. 2, 2019.
Courtesy Utah Athletics

BAM BAM: Another day, another update on offensive lineman Bamidele Olaseni. The 6-foot-8, 337-pound junior college transfer is eligible to practice but not play in games at this point.

It doesn’t involve academics. Whittingham said Olaseni has got it all done.

“But there’s still some NCAA red tape that we’re going through,” Whittingham said. “It has to be sorted out and determined exactly what his status is. So it’s not a complete green light yet.”

Whittingham is hopeful the situation will be sorted out before Week One.

“I think it’s going to work out,” he said. “But there’s no guarantee.”

PRACTICE REPORT: Whittingham said there was “good stuff” in Wednesday morning’s practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium. He also noted that a little bit of sloppiness set in toward the end as fatigue might have jumped on some guys. As such, there were some procedure penalties and other things that need to be cleaned up.

“But overall it was a positive day,” said Whittingham, who added that a lot of players who haven’t been able to practice were back on the field.

Fall camp continues through Saturday.