Utah Football Stadium Renovations Include New End Zone Restaurant

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I’ve been sitting here for over an hour, staring at my laptop, staring at this empty 12 ounce bottle of Diet Coke, thinking about what to make for dinner, wondering how I’m going to start this newsletter.

After all, these are the golden days of football’s offseason. Spring training ended three months ago. Anything I held back after prom for later use was used up a long time ago.

Utah is less than 50 days away from playing at Weber State and about 20 days away from opening fall camp. Head coach Kyle Whittingham, athletic director Mark Harlan and a few players are less than two weeks away from speaking at the Pac-12 media day in Hollywood.

I recently did a breakdown of the schedule and attempted to identify the five most important players on the list. There will be more ideas like this for another 12 days until there is something real to tackle.

Until then, here I am, still sitting here, still staring at this bottle of Diet Coke, wishing it was July 27th.

There’s a Utah football-related thought going through my head, so let’s do this so you can all read the rest of this thing.

Late Wednesday morning, the athletic department announced that the aforementioned Sept. 2 season opener against Weber State would kick off at 5:30 p.m. The opening finally has a start time, which to me makes the upcoming season feel a bit more real.

There are those who will scoff at a late afternoon weekday kickoff, but let me ask you something. Would you rather have a late afternoon kickoff on weekdays or the constant threat of not having a season at all, which is what we were doing around this time last year. I’ll wait.

Either way, we’ll get there. We’ll get through these final days of the offseason, we’ll get to media day, we’ll get to camp, we’ll get to the Weber State game.

For now, I wonder if there’s still Diet Coke in my fridge.

What’s on my mind, Utah or whatever

• If Utah is going to make use of its 13th and final basketball scholarship for 2021-22, it’s getting a bit late. The NBA draft deadline came and went last week and at this point your options are in front of you. Yes, more movement can happen in the transfer portal, and the Utes roster doesn’t need to be final for several weeks, but there shouldn’t be any major surprises or options ahead. Utah is at 12 scholarships, and there’s no rule that says he has to use No. 13 if he doesn’t want to. The Utes wouldn’t be the only program in the country rolling with 12.

Utes tight end Brant Kuithe has signed with DEC Management as a NIL marketing client., but my main takeaway was that DEC has its foot in the door with Kuithe and becomes the clear favorite to sign Kuithe as a client once he declares for the NFL Draft next winter. DEC, for what it’s worth, has inked a bunch of Utah football players in the past, most recently Bradlee Anae and John Penisini ahead of the 2019 draft.

• Incoming Utes full-back Lazar Stefanovic showed optimism for Serbia at last week’s FIBA ​​Under-19 Basketball World Cup in Latvia, averaging 12.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in six games as the Serbs lost in the bronze medal game against Canada. While the rest of the roster is on campus, I was told that Stefanovic was due to arrive in Salt Lake City in about a month, in time for the start of the fall semester. How he adapts to the American style of play will help dictate his role initially, but I suspect he’ll figure it out and be in the mix for immediate rotation minutes.

• Utah State athletic director John Hartwell threw 106.9 The Fan at Logan last week. He and Aggies coach-turned-Utah coach Craig Smith apparently talked about playing each other, but Hartwell was adamant that he would only sign for a home and away game. not just a single match at the Huntsman Center. I can’t wait to see how this evolves. There are less than 10 mid-major programs that can even consider ordering a straight-up, home-and-home vs. a Power Six program, and Utah State is not one of them. However, it’s a bit different, with Smith having coached at Logan and those two schools being only 90 minutes apart. For what it’s worth, no Power Six team has played the Spectrum since Mississippi State in November 2013.

Your questions

Q: “Will the new southern section of RES have a restaurant? I have heard rumors that one is open to the public on days when there are no football matches. -Jon Bernal

A: The short answer to that question is yes, there will be a restaurant as part of the Ken Garff Red Zone. Not all the details are available yet, but there are. Here’s what the athletic department provided me on Tuesday.

“Yes, there is a restaurant in the Ken Garff Red Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium, and it is located on the upper level, behind the Premium Terrace seating section, just below the scoreboard. It will work a little differently on matchdays than during the week, but that’s basic information. More soon.”

Q: “Two questions! With the new Pac-12 commish, in football, does he ‘revalue’ nine conference games? Do you think he’ll push to lower it to eight? In your opinion, football, percentages 0- 100%, how likely are the Utes to finish undefeated?” — @corey_cheech

A: Who authorized you to ask two questions?

Late last month, in the days before new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff took office on July 1, Jon Wilner of The Mercury News reported that going from nine conference games to eight is on the table. For me, it’s a good idea, but like all good ideas, it has advantages and disadvantages. That change won’t happen tomorrow, but it’s one that will be on everyone’s mind as college football’s playoff expansion looms.

How likely are Utah to finish undefeated, that is, 12-0 with a road win at USC and a home win in late November against Oregon? It is very unlikely. Possible? Uh, I guess, but that scenario never occurred to me.

Know this, though: A Pac-12 championship game featuring 12-0 Utah would be the biggest game in program history.

Q: “What do you think of the more deliberate recruiting tactic that Craig Smith seems to be adopting here (two offers) compared to some of his contemporaries in the league who have double digits and in some cases more than 20 offers for ’22 and ’23? — Anonymous

A: For context, it looks like there are only two offers from the University of Utah to the Class of 2022. One belongs to star Farmington guard Collin Chandler, the other belongs to forward ThunderRidge High School (Col.) Zach Keller. Both Chandler and Keller are four-star rookies playing their AAU ball for the Utah Prospects on the adidas Tour.

In my opinion, this is the most sensible way to go, identify whoever you want and dive headfirst into them. For what it’s worth, when the adidas Tour hit Birmingham, Alabama last weekend, Smith and Utes assistant coach Tim Morris were in the house, with Smith photographed a small handful of times taking games of the Utah Prospects.

Offering a double-digit number of potential recruits is a long-standing tactic that I just don’t understand. Not all of these offers are committable offers, and if it’s not a committable offer, what’s the point?

Q: “An adult guilty pleasure drink you’re secretly, if not shamefully, enjoying this summer?” — @StaircaseWhitt

A: The Aperol spritz found 15 minutes of fame a few years ago, mostly because the New York Times said it wasn’t good, but its logic was rooted in the use of poor quality Prosecco and too much ice .

Yeah, if you order an Aperol spritz in a bar/restaurant, you’re probably going to get substandard ingredients, and you’re also going to pay through the nose for the right to be disappointed.

An Aperol spritz is a strictly at-home, end-of-day relaxation offering, allowing me to dictate the ingredients, including the amount of ice, which is essential. Done right, they are delicious, refreshing and a hit on a hot summer afternoon/evening, of which there have been many in our beautiful city.

Ready? In a red wine glass at the wider end, I go with four ice cubes, two and a half parts La Marca Prosecco, one part aperol and a little, just a SPLASH, of Pellegrino.

Yes my guy. I’m smart enough to tell you to go with Pellegrino. What about?

Random Daydreams

• I was embarrassingly late with Ted Lasso. Great show, looking forward to season 2 next week.

• White People Can’t Jump is my favorite basketball movie. I keep telling myself that on one of these work trips to Los Angeles, I’m going to take a drive through all the shorts in the movie. Including the Pac-12 media day, I should be in Southern California three times between July 27 and October 9. I have to do it. Shout out to Eddie “The King” Faroo and Duck Johnson.

• After trying both for three days last week, Aggie Ice Cream is better than BYU Creamery, and I didn’t think it was particularly close.

• Buds, on 300 South, makes a hell of a vegan sandwich if you like that sort of thing. Big recommendation from me, which quite often mixes in with vegan dishes. The fact that there were eight people wearing Chacos outside the place waiting for their respective orders matched the overall mood perfectly.

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