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Utah football notes: Utes not clamping down on Twitter

Published August 18, 2011 4:03 pm

Utah football notes •Whittingham allows use of social media.
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Other schools might be clamping down on their athletes' use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, but Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has decided he wants no part in controlling such matters.

Instead, Whittingham said he'll allow his football players to use social media, but hopes they do so with good judgment.

"I know it's a more liberal take than some other coaches have, and I know other coaches feel a need to put rules in place, but it is such a part of college football now, I don't want to get into controlling that," Whittingham said of social media sites. "If we have repeat offenders, then we'll deal with them as they come."

Perhaps the player highest on the "repeat offender watch list" is receiver DeVonte Christopher, who angered Boise State's players last year before the Las Vegas Bowl when he referred to the school as "Girlse State," and "a bunch of cheerleaders" on his Twitter account.

Boise State got the last laugh in that game, not only winning 26-3, but also shutting down Christopher, who didn't have a catch after leading the Utes in receiving yards (660) and touchdown catches (six).

Whittingham said the matter has been discussed with Christopher. He doesn't expect any other issues and is confident his players will use good judgment.

"You can back yourself into a corner with a thousand rules," he said.

"That just isn't the way I like to operate, and I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt."

Scrimmage setup

Solid execution will be the emphasis in Tuesday's scrimmage since the offense has been installed and the defensive depth chart is fairly set.

The Utes went through their two-minute drill in Monday's morning practice and executed it better than they have in the past, despite backup quarterback Jon Hays running the show.

Starting quarterback Jordan Wynn had reached his limit of 70 throws, leaving Hays to run the offense. He did well enough for Whittingham to call the effort satisfactory. The coach wants more of the same Tuesday.

"We need to find out who our playmakers are," Whittingham said. "We are going to find out this week who we can count on on a regular basis. The majority of the install is finished, so this week we have to become better at everything we are doing."

No peeking

While other teams have opened some practices or scrimmages to the media, the Utes aren't going to do so, with Whittingham saying he didn't want any distractions for his team. "I thought about it, and we're not going to do it," he said. "I think we are pretty accessible, more accessible than most teams. But we want to keep focused and keep their minds on the task at hand."

Roster redo

Po'u Palelei, a 6-foot-5, 380-pound offensive lineman out of Las Vegas, failed to get his academic work in order and won't be joining the Utes, Whittingham said. He is the second signee who failed to make it into Utah; the other was Benji Kemoeatu, a 6-5, 350-pound lineman who is the younger brother of former Utes Ma'ake, Chris and Tevita.

Redshirt freshman defensive back Damian Payne has left the team to attend to some family issues at his home in Texas. Walk-on offensive lineman Siaosi Hala'ufia has left the team, and running back Mychal Robinson and linebacker J.T. Strong have joined the team.


Twitter: @lyawodraska —

Practice points

What we learned • The depth chart for Utah's defense is stabilizing, with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham saying the coaches have a good idea of the 15-18 players they will utilize on a regular basis.

Who was hot • Corners Wykie Freeman and Mo Lee both made some nice plays Monday and backup quarterback Jon Hays looked more confident than he has in the past.

Who was sidelined • Starting corner Conroy Black left practice with a thigh bruise that isn't thought to be serious.






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