Utah football: Utes to attack Frogs with a new look
The Utah Utes will unveil some new uniforms Saturday against TCU, thanks to sponsor Under Armour. The Utes will wear black uniforms with camouflage on the sides and around the numbers as part of the company's "Wounded Warrior" project.
The jerseys feature words such as "Duty," "Honor," "Courage" and "Commitment" on the back instead of the players' names.
"They're fun," said quarterback Jordan Wynn, who wore the jersey during Monday's news conference. "It's going for a good cause, and with the blackout, it's going to be a great environment Saturday."
Merchandise with the blackout theme is available for fans, with part of the proceeds going to the cause.
Money raised through the project helps provide services and programs for injured service members and their families. The jerseys will be auctioned off on the school website after the game.
Three servicemen injured in Iraq in 2005 when their vehicle was attacked will serve as honorary captains Saturday.
Calling it like it is
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham didn't even bother trying to call Saturday's contest "just another game." He noted that the winner will get a "big leg up" in the conference race and it has national title implications as well.
He wasn't worried about all the hype distracting his team.
"It's going to be an exciting week and weekend but our guys have handled it so far," he said. "They've been in big games before, so it's not new to the program. I feel like we are ready to take this on."
Freshman safety Brian Blechen picked up the Defensive Player of the Week honor for the Mountain West Conference, marking the second time he has been recognized with the honor and the ninth time a Utah player has earned conference weekly awards. Blechen had a career-high nine tackles (six solo), an interception and a fumble recovery in the Utes' 28-23 win over Air Force.
Blechen's third-quarter interception led to a Utah touchdown that gave the Utes a 28-10 lead.
Whittingham said Justin Taplin-Ross and Greg Bird were the team's players of the week. Bird stepped in when linebacker Chad Manis sustained an ankle injury in the first half.
"Greg came in and made several big hits and took advantage of the opportunity," he said. "All three played well."
DeVonte Christopher, Utah's second-leading receiver, should be able to play against TCU. He didn't make the trip to Air Force due to a sore knee. Others who were banged up in that game, including Blechen (ankle) and Manis (ankle) should play, Whittingham said.