Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah D-line looking for leaders to emerge
First Published Mar 18 2013 09:58 am • Last Updated Mar 18 2013 09:58 am

Switching our focus to the defense today, which received an unpleasant surprise when defensive end Joe Kruger announced he was leaving a year early for the NFL.

The Utes must also replace Star Lotulelei and Dave Kruger and backup Niasi Leota, who was dismissed from the team in February after he was charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping after allegedly beating and threatening to kill his wife.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The good news is the Utes have a lot of candidates who could emerge as starters and leaders.

Senior Trevor Reilly, who won't participate in spring ball as he recovers from an injury, is slated to start at left end.

Seniors Tenny Palepoi and LT Tuipulotu are the tackles and junior Nate Orchard, who previously used the last name "Fakahafua," is slated to start at right end.

Backups are returners Thretton Palamo and Viliseni Fauonuku and redshirt freshman Hunter Dimick and Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, a returned missionary.

Also on campus is Tevita Bloomfield, a 2011 signee who enrolled in January.

Latu Heimuli, who has been slowed by foot and knee injuries, could also be a factor.

Of the group, watching how Tu'ikolovatu and Fauonuku develop in the spring will be interesting. Fauonuku played in every game last and had 13 tackles, so don't be surprised if he pushes for a starting role. The 320-pound Tu'ikolovatu is a player Utah's coaches are excited about, the key will be how fast he can come up to speed.


story continues below
story continues below

Unlike the line, Utah's linebackers are a veteran group with starters Jason Whittingham and V.J. Fehoko returning along with sophomores LT Filiaga and Jared Norris. Filiaga finished ninth on the team with 32 tackles last year while Norris played in seven games.

Penciled in to start at rover is Jacoby Hale, a 6-foot, 230-pound junior who played in seven games last year and finished with 27 tackles. The speedy player from Beaumont, Texas missed games with an injury lsat year, but if the Utes can keep him healthy, he could be Utah's breakout star for the defense.

Reshawn Hooker and Uaea Masina are the youngsters competing for playing time.

The one blow to the linebackers is the absence of Victor Spikes, who played in eight games last year as a junior and had nine tackles.

Spikes is no longer with the team according to Utah officials, who declined to give more details on the situation.

- Lya Wodraska



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.