Utah football: Utes' kicking game 'discouraging'
The kicks went to the left, they went to the right, they went barely above the grass and sometimes, they even went through the goal posts.
Much to the Utes' chagrin, the adventures in kicking continued this week in practice with not-so-great results.
"It's discouraging," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham admitted Wednesday after another subpar session with the kickers. "It's a work in progress. We've given those guys all the game simulations as much as we can and we are still a ways away in that area, but we'll keep working and trying to get better with everybody."
Utah kicker Coleman Petersen, who was 18 of 25 in 2011, has missed two field goals this year, from 27 and 52 yards out.
The 52-yarder came at the end of regulation against Utah State. He actually had two shots at it because Utah State called timeout just before his first kick, which was short and to the left, just like the one that counted.
However, neither was his fault because a bad snap left him with a poor setup.
"The timing has to be right on the money," Whittingham said. "There, in as much as anywhere else maybe more so, it depends on the timing. It isn't just the kicker we have to get better in a lot of phases."
The Utah-BYU rivalry always pits some family members against one another. One of the split families involves Utah tight end Westlee Tonga, whose brother-in-law Reno Mahe, played for BYU.
Mahe's most memorable game against Utah came in 2001, when he caught five passes for 94 yards in BYU's 24-21 win.
Tonga said his family will be in red and that Mahe is supportive of him.
"We don't do a lot of trash-talking as far as football goes," he said. "It's more with cards and Monopoly and things like that. He is happy with my success."
Utes' starter at QB remains a mystery
Whittingham said he was going to notify Utah's quarterbacks on Thursday evening which one will start against BYU.
The coach said he doesn't think the secret will get out, although he acknowledged the modern era does present some issues.
"They know what goes on here stays here," he said. "But there is social media that is something you always have to worry about."
This and that
The Utes are hosting a parade and pep rally at The Gateway on Friday from 6-7 p.m.
The Utah band, cheerleaders and members of some of Utah's other sports teams will be present.
Utah's record against independents is 56-38-4.
The only other time Utah played BYU as a homecoming opponent was in 1968, when the Utes won 30-21.