Optimism is universal on the first day of practice. The University of Utah is no exception.
But there's more than misplaced hopes going on with the Utes. More like a quiet confidence within the team.
Nobody believes this season will result in a 6-25 disaster. The comments were still measured, perhaps as if not wanting to write a check with their mouth that their play can't cash. Still, Utah believes it can compete.
And on the first day of practice, the team hopes to build on that belief.
"As a coaching staff, we're really excited to coach this team," Larry Krystkowiak said. "But we really have a long ways to go."
"You really have to give the staff credit for going out and getting players that can compete in the Pac-12," Jason Washburn said.
"We have a lot of talent. We think we have the chance to do some things," Jordan Loveridge said.
Time will tell whether this is hope or hype. Thanks to a confidence-building pre-league schedule, we may not fully know for the first few months how good this team really is. But watching the Utes in Friday's practice reveals the kind of team to the naked eye that use to roll on the hill.
"We have the chanct to make an impact, and we want it to be this year," Glen Dean said.