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Newcomer Keith McGill was the talk of camp as the junior-college transfer consistently stood out as one of the Utah Utes' best performers.

The only one who wasn't talking about McGill was the defensive back himself.

McGill put himself on media lockdown for much of the camp because he felt he stood out from his teammates not for the skills he was showing, but for what wasn't showing on his helmet.

A Utah tradition maintains players have to earn the drum and feather that adorns their helmets by making a couple of good plays, showing hustle, etc.

Utah's coaches started awarding the logos the first day of camp, but as good as McGill was, he kept getting passed over.

"Coaches told me they were holding me to higher expectations, and I felt I was letting my team down because I didn't have the drum and feather," he said. "My name was getting called after practice [for interviews] and I didn't feel like I deserved it. I wanted to prove to the team I had it."

So McGill put himself on media lockdown until he earned the coveted logo. He finally got one the last week of camp.

"I hustled everywhere and made a couple plays," he said. "It felt great. I put it on my helmet as soon as I got it. I was given everything in high school, so I took earning it real serious."

Even though he has lifted his media ban, McGill, who is slated to start at free safety, still plans to keep earning the right to wear the logo.

"I take it real serious," he said. "It's my upbringing."

Kicking game unsettled

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said whether the Utes go with Coleman Petersen or Nick Marsh as the placekicker is a decision that might not be made until Tuesday.

Both have been inconsistent, to the point that Whittingham acknowledged the Utes might have to change their strategy for fourth downs.

"We are pulling out all the stops," he said. "We're trying different things to build their confidence."

All in

The Utes expect running back John White to get the majority of the carries in Thursday's opener against Montana State, but Whittingham said the three other backs, Tauni Vakapuna, Harvey Langi and Thretton Palamo, could also play.

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