Another week, another probable blowout, and another 13 Questions!
As the season's progressed it's felt increasingly foreign to talk to other fanbases, hearing them excited about their team, enthusiastically talking up their favorite players, and just generally being emotionally engaged. I'm pretty checked out. Most of you are too. I'll be hiking tomorrow instead of watching the game.
Thus hard to get excited about some Utes history or Ducks content in general – the irony being that we have more quality contributions at ATQ than we've had in years, but the team gets more & more unpleasant to follow by the week. I hope we can keep that involvement going next season (and for bball) because it's been great.
But if you'd like to remember what it's like to have fun following your football team, take a look at the answers below, very generously supplied by the fine folks at BlockU.com – YeOldeJimmy, UM4G, BruceSaidIt, cstrickland, shakeitsugaree, chinngiskhaan, and honorary ATQer RavenousUte. Friendly & good-natured folks all.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be under my desk...
1. Who's one Utah player for us Oregon fans to watch on offense, and what should we look for? Not necessarily your most prolific offensive player - let's hear about guys that provide something unique for your team or are otherwise instructive.
Our offense has been at its best when our young WRs are playing well. We have a few that have flashed potential: Sophomore Raelon Singleton (who had 3 TDs against ASU), sophomore Tyrone Smith (who was hampered by injury early), and true freshman Demari Simpkins. The big playmakers are Tim Patrick (who’s been slowed by injury unfortunately) and Cory Butler-Byrd. Forcing defenses to be more honest in coverage by having these other guys playing well has been great in some games this year.
The offensive player that is essential to the Utes being effective is Cory Butler-Byrd. He is a dynamic receiver who excels in his shiftiness off of bubble screens, quick passes and reverses. This sounds like an odd one to point out, but because every defense knows Utah likes to run It up the middle, Butler-Byrd is the key piece that helps a) punish the defenses when they stack the box and b) opens up the running game to big gains. When Cory has been absent on offense due to injuries, we have struggled.
Cory Butler-Byrd. Watch for him on sweep type runs, passes to the flat, and I believe as the slot receiver. Brings a fire to the offense when the other stars are struggling to get something going.
Tim Patrick 6’5" 210 lb WR
Nick Nowakowski, fourth string center that has been our starting center since injury has claimed the other three. Lo Falemaka is back on the depth chart, so you might see Lo instead of Nick. The four or five false start penalties we will accumulate during the game will make more sense to you now.
Not exactly an offensive player, but he may as well be with the way he flips the field… Mitch Wishnowsky for sure. You all know Hackett well. This guy is bigger, stronger, faster, and has a much more powerful leg than Hackett.
2. And how about one on defense?
He’s a rising star and may not count as under-the-radar, but sophomore Chase Hansen has been an excellent SS. He has gotten better every game this year and having him and Marcus Williams at FS gives us one of the most dangerous safety tandems in the country.
Lowell Lotululei. Isn’t flashy, doesn’t rack up stats, but he’s a big boy who does his job well, he’s there to anchor the middle of the line and let no one through. Older brother Star plays for the Carolina Panthers.
The defensive player that most dramatically has an impact is Marcus Williams, essentially, he allows the corners to be more aggressive as he provides exceptional ability at free safety and often baits the passes (which become interceptions).
Marcus Williams FS, Ducks should know this guy by end of the day.
Brian Allen, corner. Brian will get beat, badly, by one of your receivers in this game. You will find yourself wondering if he’s bored or something. Then he will pick off Herbert.
I’m gonna go with Boobie Hobbs (j/k… LOL)… I’ll put a second vote in for Pita T… He is a beast of a pass rusher.
3. Describe your team in 5 words or less.
"A UTAH man am I!"
Never Give Up, Be Physical.
Never Give Up, Never Surrender!
Physical Mindset, Scrappy As Hell.
ALL-IN OR IN THE WAY!
Physical, Accountable, Hibernatorial, Family, Underdog.
4. How about the "typical" Utes fan, 5 words or less? Give us the stereotype!
33% Optimistic, 33% Pessimistic, 33% Realistic, 1% Homeristic.
Hates BYU, Respects Other PAC-12s.
Hate Stereotypes, Party And Rebel.
Anti Mormon, Drunkard, Liberal.
I guess BYU fans would say something like this:
5. Favorite Utah game of the past 20 years?
Best Utah game I didn’t go to: 2008 Sugar Bowl. This is not even a debate.
Best Utah game I’ve attended: 2015 Oregon. Sorry, but Oregon was OREGON!! and Travis Wilson had the game of his life. It was awesome.
2009 Sugar Bowl, because Screw Bama and Screw the SEC. (ed. note: hear hear!)
I think if you polled 100 Utah fans, at least 99 would say the Utah-Alabama Sugar Bowl in 2009 to end a perfect 2008 season.
Utah vs Oregon (2015) – sorry guys, but that was the one game where everything was clicking. Even offense – which is very rare for us.
6. Who is the all-time best player to have ever donned red & white?
Probably Alex Smith, because of the success he helped start for the U football program. However, in terms of production in the NFL, it has to be Steve Smith who is a lock for the Hall of Fame. I’m clearly biased towards Utes who have played during my lifetime though, so there may be others who I’m not familiar with.
Favorite to watch play? Chris Fuamatu Ma’afala.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it was Eric Weddle. He was intelligent and fierce and has excelled due to both.
Eric Weddle.. Weddle is a gym-rat.
Eric Weddle, Hands DOWN.
7. What non-Utah team does your fanbase feel the most kinship with?
I’d say any team that plays a similar kind of smash-mouth, physical style. Within the PAC, probably Stanford. Outside the PAC, probably TCU, since we both became P5 members at the same time after leaving the MWC.
We like to say we are a Stadford (or Washington) type team, as we rely on our defense an like to play physical.
Colorado, maybe. Still not feeling the "Rivalry" yet, more hatred for old in-state rivals, still get New Kids On the Block treatment from other fanbases.
I think TCU – they were with us in the MWC, played a similar style of football, and Gary Patterson has been there a long time. So lots of similarities in my mind. I always cheer for them when they’re not playing Utah.
As much as I hate to say it… TCU.
8. Any thoughts on the current trajectory of the football program overall?
I think everyone would agree that we are trending in a positive direction. We seem to have adapted to life in a P5 and have steadily increased our wins in conference. We do lose a lot of talent to graduation/early NFL this year, but last year was probably our best recruiting class ever. We already have guys committed this year (though it is a low total number overall) that we wouldn’t have a shot at usually.
Positive trend upward since joining the PAC, I feel confident in a South championship and possibly even the PAC championship soon (within the next 5 years).
Looking good – most people say this as a rebuilding year, and we may just win the PAC-12 south. We will never get the quantity of big name recruits that USC, UCLA, You guys, and Washington get, but our classes have been getting better and better and we can coach the kids who come in.
Trending positive, but damn - building that brand as P5 team is tough and recruiting is still hard.
I like the direction of our program. Our recruiting has been trending upwards, as evidenced by the number of injuries we have been able to absorb this year, and remain competitive. Continue to worry whether the offense is headed in the right direction. The hire of Guy Holliday as WR coach was yuge.
As long as Whitt is our coach, the trajectory will continue upward steadily.
9. What's a unique Utah student/campus tradition - gameday or otherwise?
I’d say the MUSS is a big deal to students. I loved being in it, especially because you can get some really great seats there too. Utah doesn’t relegate the students to being behind the goalposts like a lot of teams do. The 3rd down jump and counting the false starts are fun psychological games. This year, the Utes have WAY more false starts than our opponents though, go figure.
(ed. note: the MUSS is Utah's student section association, widely considered to be one of the best in the country. Far as I could tell the name isn't an acronym but rather taken from their fight song:
“We're up to snuff; we never bluff,
We're game for any fuss,
No other gang of college men
Dare meet us in the muss.”)
Would have to say the MUSS.
Gotta love the MUSS and for adults, you gotta hit up the PIE a few hours before. Awesome atmosphere.
Ute Walk; great opportunity to interact with the team up close and definitely the PIE pizzeria
Garlic pull-aparts and beer at the Pie – gameday, or otherwise!
(ed. note: you can watch people eat at Pie from the comfort of your own home)
10. Prototypical gameday beverage?
Being part of the Mormon contingent of fans, I can’t speak to a typical drink. As far as food related tradition, me and my MUSS friends would usually head over to Beto’s on 400 S after a game to either commiserate or celebrate with a big burrito.
Not a drinker, but Dr. Pepper for me.
Utah prides itself on its micro brews and has many Ute-friendly sports bars to try them out.
Rooster’s Niner Bock. The 9% helps with the number of close wins this team has.
As far as Utah beer goes, I’m partial to Uinta’s Cutthroat Pale (or the higher point version, Angler, if you’re ambitious enough to make a trip to the liquor store), Epic’s Sour Apple Saison (the Brainless on Peaches is good too), and Wasatch’s doppelbock The Devastator. Since I’m not in Salt Lake anymore I don’t run into any of those beers very often. Lately, I’ve been into 10 Barrel’s Cucumber Sour and Elysian’s Spacedust IPA.
11. Best celebrity Utes fan?
Ummmm, probably Steve Smith again? The only celebrities I can think of from Utah are sports players and the last two leaders of the Mormon church.
Would have to say either Alex Smith or Steve Smith.
I think Zane Beadles was a popular one a bit ago – after all, he did go on the Ellen show.
Steve Smith Sr., he is always follows Ute football and tweets out. Honorable mention: Orson Scott Card.
As much as some Utah fans are going to hate this, easily the most famous Ute fan/grad is Thomas Monson, the president of the LDS church… Though Steve Smith makes sense… Does Jimmy Fallon count? (you know what I’m talking about Ute basketball fans)
12. If you could pick one Ducks player, aside from Royce Freeman, to be on your team - who makes the jump?
I think most Utes fans would prefer Joe Williams to Rolls Royce, so no conflict there. We definitely need more explosiveness and speed on the outside on offense, so we’d love to have someone like Carrington.
Taj (without the injury of course). We need the speed to compliment our bruiser run style.
Charles Nelson, we need more WR.
Honestly don’t know enough about Oregon this year to answer.
13. If the Utes were a Game Of Thrones character, who would they be?
Not a big fan, but I would say the Utes are in walking dead’s terms a Darrell. Not usually the leader, but a badass team non-the-less that can take a beating and dish it out in spades.
John Snow; toughened by the cold wastlelands and definitely a bastard.