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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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(Courtesy photo) | University of Utah Eight-year-old Mac Brennan was named an honorary coach for the University of Utah football team's annual Red-White Spring Game this Saturday. Brennan was diagnosed in December with leukemia and has been a frequent visitor at both Utah basketball and football practices.
Utes name young cancer patients as honorary coaches for Red-White game

There are some pretty tough football coaches — coaches who shout, coaches who scream, coaches with head-to-toe scars from their own time in the trenches.

And then there are Tristan Chidester and Mac Brennan.

On the sidelines at Utah’s Red-White Spring Game on Saturday will be two of the toughest guys ever to don a headset, both of them having battled cancer at a young age.

"Their courage and positive attitude is an example and inspiration to us all, and we could not be more honored to have them both on the sideline Saturday as we wrap up spring practice with this year’s Red-White game," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a release.

Chidester is a 12-year-old bone cancer patient from Herriman. The cancer, first diagnosed in 2010, cost him his right leg, but he has been cancer-free for more than a year and has attended a few Ute practices during his recovery, according to the release.

Brennan, 8, has been a regular at both Utah football and basketball practices since he was diagnosed with leukemia in December. His father, Kyle, is senior associate athletics director and his mom, Beth, is the coordinator of football academics.

Brennan raised the team’s spirits last Tuesday by announcing after practice that his latest bone marrow test had come back cancer-free.

Assisting Chidester will be Utah offensive line coach Jim Harding, and helping Brennan will be wideouts coach Taylor Stubblefield.

Sophomore offensive lineman Isaac Asiata was among the players to react positively to the coaching news Monday on Twitter.

The Red-White game begins at 1 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free and UTA is offering free transportation passes.

The Utes will play 10-minute quarters with a standard clock in the first half and a running clock in the second, and there will be no punt or kickoff returns. If a scoring team is behind by 10 points, it will retain possession of the ball. The defense will be limited to a base defense.

The spring game will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks. Ute alumni will also square off at Rice-Eccles Stadium prior to the spring game, beginning at noon.

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— Matthew Piper


Twitter: @matthew_piper

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