Utah football: Kruger eager to live up to family name

Utah notes » Defensive lineman wants to follow in older brother's footsteps.
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With a redshirt year's worth of practice behind him, defensive lineman Dave Kruger felt confident he could help the Utes in 2009.

Now it appears he'll have more chances to do so.

While sophomore Lei Talamaivao is out three to four weeks with a cracked fibula, Kruger and sophomore Sealver Siliga will get more playing time.

Siliga is slated to start, but Kruger, a 6-foot-5, 272-pounder, will also get more snaps.

"I hope I can go in and make a difference," he said. "I have good coaches, so I feel prepared."

He has good bloodlines, too, judging by his brother's success for Utah.

Paul , who left school a year early for the NFL, was one of the Utes' defensive stars on the 2008 team.

While others watched Paul with admiration, Dave watched with a learning eye.

"I learned a lot," he said. "He always keeps his hands and feet moving and goes until the whistle blows. He was always hustling, and I take that example from him."

Dave knows fans are going to compare him to his brother, but he said he doesn't mind the scrutiny.

"There is definitely a little pressure," he said. "But it's good to have that as motivation. I want to live up to that name."

High numbers, low catches

The Utes have used four tight ends this season in Chris Joppru , Brad Clifford , Kendrick Moeai and Ben Hendy . However, Clifford is the only one to have a reception.

The junior's catch resulted in a 2-yard loss against Louisville.

Old guys rule

Offensive tackle Sam Brenner and defensive back Victor Spikes are the only true freshmen to play for the Utes this season. Brenner has played all four games on special teams and relieved lineman Zane Beadles when Beadles suffered a laceration in the Louisville game.

Lots of depth, no effect

Whittingham said receiver Shaky Smithson 's conversion to a backup running back won't affect the receivers too much. Smithson, who still will get some time at receiver, has nine catches for 56 yards, which tied him with injured running back Matt Asiata for fourth in receptions.

Whittingham predicted that Luke Matthews , Aiona Key and DeVonte Christopher would get more passes thrown their way.

Key has just three catches, Mathews has only one and Christopher has none.

David Reed leads the team with 26 catches for 360 yards and two touchdowns and Jereme Brooks has 14 catches for 191 yards and three touchdowns.


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