Utah football notes: Meyer up for Utah challenge

Published August 24, 2009 7:07 pm
Utah notes » Florida coach was open to playing Utes in 2009.
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Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was reluctant to respond to media reports Monday in which Florida coach Urban Meyer was quoted as saying he was open to a Florida-Utah matchup to start the 2009 season, but that the deal couldn't get done.

"Kyle's one of my closest friends and it was kind of exciting," Meyer said in reports. "Somehow they just couldn't get everything worked out."

Utah officials said there were some initial inquires made by ESPN, but the discussions never progressed past that contact.

In January during the Utes' celebration of their win over Alabama, Whittingham challenged Florida to a game at a rally, saying "Utes-Gators. Neutral site, winner take all."

Florida won the BCS title while the Utes finished No. 2 behind the Gators in the final 2008 AP poll. On Monday Whittingham said he was unaware of discussions of the matchup, although he did limit his comment to "home and home" series.

"We're interested in home and homes, that is our desire almost all the time," he said. "There are some exceptions, but no comment after that."

Backup quarterback

Junior Chad Manis , a quarterback who was converted to linebacker, was taking some snaps with the offense Monday. He is designated as the Utes' No. 3 quarterback behind Terrance Cain and Jordan Wynn since plans are to redshirt freshman Griff Roble s.

Although he is only learning the offense for emergency purposes, Manis said it was fun to be a quarterback again.

"It's the position I grew up playing so it's always good to get back out there," he said. "But it's a whole new offense so there is a lot to learn."

Bowl agreement

As expected, the MWC and the Pac-10 have renewed their agreement with the Las Vegas Bowl through 2013.

The Las Vegas bowl gets its first choice of MWC teams and the fifth choice of Pac-10 teams. Previously, the Las Vegas bowl rotated with the Emerald Bowl for the fourth/fifth selection.

The thought of playing a mediocre Pac-10 might not excite MWC fans and it's hard to say how excited MWC teams are going to be either.

Whittingham hesitated to comment Monday.

"We want the best opponent we can find for our champion and right now the Pac-10 is a high profile-conference," he said. "There is some good football teams out there, it's tough to say, some years you want a team from conference X or Conference Y, it changes from year to year."

lwodraska@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">lwodraska@sltrib.com

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