Huskies Insider Blog

Know your enemy: The Utah Utes and their Ring of Fire

Here's video of head coach Kyle Whittingham's press conference

During the bye week, Whittingham was playing "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash at practice. Why? Well, it's an awesome song and you don't need a reason to play Johnny Cash. But as it is pointed out in this story, the Utes are facing their own ring of fire in the coming weeks.

Utah steps into its own version of a ring of fire this week as it begins a schedule like none other in the program’s history.

Washington, Arizona State, Pittsburgh, Cal and on and on the schedule goes, one week after another of opponents whose quality the Utes have faced just once or twice in the past or maybe in a bowl game.

It is the type of schedule BCS veteran teams say separates them from the mid-major teams that might have one or two high-quality opponents on their schedule buffered by so-called cupcake games.

But this is why the Utes (2-1, 0-1) joined the Pac-12, they say, to test their mettle against teams from a premier college football league every week.People around the campus and in Salt Lake City are buzzing about the first official Pac 12 conference game to be played at Rice-Eccles Stadium

While the Utes are all business, everyone else will be celebrating. The Utes opened Pac-12 play with a heartbreaking 23-14 loss at USC, but the first league game at home is generating an excitement level that Zack Lassiter, Utah’s assistant athletic director who is in charge of ticket sales, has rarely seen. The Utes have a few standing-only tickets remaining, but even those are expected to go fast.

"We’ve been talking about this game for 14 months now," he said. "It feels more like it does for a College Game Day game or TCU or BYU at the end of the year. Everywhere you go people are talking about it, and that makes it neat." Whittingham talks about Keith Price in this notebook.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Price’s playmaking abilities set him apart from other quarterbacks.

"When the pocket breaks down, he is exceptional at throwing on the move," he said. "He is a capable runner. He doesn’t run a lot, but he is adept at running the football."