Utah football notes: Watts thrilled to be able to contribute on O line

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It's hard to say who is happier about Walter Watts ' emergence as a capable player at right guard for the Utes, Watts who might start, or Zane Taylor , who gets to move back to his preferred position at center where he was an honorable mention all-MWC player in 2008.

Watts spent the last two seasons as a backup at tackle, playing in four games in 2007 and seven games in 2008. He moved to guard in the spring.

The junior, who will rotate with freshman Tevita Stevens , said he put in extra time during the off-season to earn the shot at starting.

"My mindset was to work harder, run more and just be dedicated," he said. "I wanted to get in there and play."

Watts' father, for whom he is named after, played for the Utes' basketball team from 1989-91 and was the team's second leading scorer and rebounder on the 1990-91 squad that made the Sweet 16.

His son hopes to be a similar contributor to the football team one day.

"I love the O-line," he said. "I'm going to bust my butt to be with them and keep working hard. Every day I'm asking questions, watching film, trying to get better."

The replacements

The Utes have acknowledged replacing Brice McCain and Sean Smith , who are now in the NFL, will be hard to do. However, Whittingham said he likes how senior R.J. Stanford and sophomore Brandon Burton are looking in camp.

"R.J. is a proven commodity," he said. "He has a lot of experience, not as a full time player but in substitutions. Brandon is a talented kid, this is his chance to step up. ... So far so good, we find out Sept. 3 exactly where we are with them."

No comment

The Reno Gazette Journal reported that Corbin Louks , Utah's former backup quarterback, should join the Wolf Pack in the next week with plans to use him as a safety.

Louks was quoted as saying "I just want to try and help out in any way I can. I'll play wherever the team needs me to play. I'm just excited to be a part of the Pack."

Louks spent several days with the Utes practicing at safety before he transferred.

Whittingham was in no mood to discuss the former Ute on Thursday.

"Corbin's old news, Corbin is on the Nevada Wolf Pack now, and is no longer a topic of discussion," he said.