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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Fotu reinstated but must sit out first game for Utes

Utah senior defender Nai Fotu has been reinstated by coach Kyle Whittingham but must sit out the season opener against Montana State as final punishment for his DUI arrest in February.

Fotu, who was suspended by the team following his arrest, has been practicing with the team and has met all the team requirements to the coaches' satisfaction to be reinstated, Whittingham said.

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"We will miss him for the first game but there is accountability," the coach said. "There is accountability with everything you do and this is the situation for him."

The 6-foot, 247-pound Fotu is slated to be the backup at left end behind Joe Kruger and is the backup at stud linebacker behind Brian Blechen along with Trevor Reilly.

Fotu missed the 2010 season with a knee injury.

The Utes ran through a light practice Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium, spending more time working on their pre-game routine than practicing.

Receiver Anthony Denham, who missed camp with a hamstring injury, is at 80 percent and was slowed in drills by the injury. He isn't expected to play in the opener and the coaches are considering redshirting the junior.

"We'll have to make a judgement in a couple weeks what our plans are going to be for him," Whittingham said.

The kicking game remains unsettled and likely won't be decided until after Monday, Whittingham said.

"Everything else is solidified," he said. "The running backs, the secondary is set, it's just a matter of finding out who makes the plays at game time."



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