Utes not worried after studying film of 'Bama
The Utah Utes have studied Alabama in the days since their Sugar Bowl matchup with the Crimson Tide was announced. So far, it doesn't seem like they have seen anything that made the Utes worry.
Alabama (12-1) has a highly regarded running game and big lines, but the Utes (12-0), who held their first bowl practice Thursday, don't feel they're overmatched.
"We've played good defenses this year, but we're excited about the challenge," quarterback Brian Johnson said. "Everyone talks about how good they are, but we'll be ready to play and we'll see what happens on game day."
Corner Sean Smith said after watching film he feels the Utes match up well with the Tide defensively.
"We're not worried about the passing game," he said. "We feel like if we can stop the run, we'll be OK."
Utah offensive lineman Zane Beadles said Alabama's line looked good and that 6-foot-5, 365-pound Terrence Cody was going to be tough, but not impossible to play.
"He moves well for as big as he is," Beadles said. "He's going to be a challenge for us, but we think we can wear him down as the game goes on."
Thursday's practice, the first time the Utes have been on the field since beating BYU Nov. 22, was a light but good one according to coach Kyle Whittingham.
"It was good to get back out and get into it," he said. "We'll gradually increase the workload as the game gets closer."
Utah, which was given an allotment of 17,500 tickets and has been taking orders from Crimson Club members and season ticket holders, will put its remaining tickets on sale today at 10 a.m.
Tickets can be purchased online at utahutes.com, by phone (801-581-UTIX) and at the Rice-Eccles Stadium ticket office.
Utah ticket manager Zack Lassiter said in a release the Utes expect a "heavy demand" and hope to sell their allotment. The Utes received 3,000 orders before the bowl announcement and on Monday.
Alabama has more than 60,000 season ticket holders and Sugar Bowl tickets are in high demand with the Tide making their first appearance in the bowl since 1993, when they won the national title with a 34-13 win over Miami.
Whittingham is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award.