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Deseret News

Utah approaching Michigan match as 'just another game'

By Josh Furlong | Posted - Aug. 31, 2015 at 5:10 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — In case you haven't heard, some guy named Jim Harbaugh has returned to coaching at the college level and will be making his debut Thursday against Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

It's a game with more hype surrounding a so-called underdog road team than has been seen in some time. In fact, Fox Sports will be unveiling Thursday its "khakis cam" — a field camera solely dedicated to Harbaugh and his famous clothing choices.

While the hype is at an all-time high surrounding the game, Utah is approaching it as "just another game."

"We prepare the same for everybody," head coach Kyle Whittingham said Monday. "We have big games every week. We're going through the phases like we always would. It does get the players attention right away, though, because it's obviously a higher-profile game."

"We don't really care about their hype," running back Devontae Booker said. "They can have all the hype. We're just going to go out there and fight and play hard."

"We're OK with it (the hype)," quarterback Travis Wilson said. "We're doing our own thing, they're doing their own thing. Our main focus is about our team and about this game. Nothing else really matters at this point."

Linebacker Jared Norris added that he's not worried about the hype and that Utah will continue to focus on what it does best. But Norris said he's frustrated that people still doubt Utah after all this time in the Pac-12 and after two successful BCS-busting years.

We don't really care about their hype. They can have all the hype. We're just going to go out there and fight and play hard.

–Devontae Booker

"You just kinda get sick and tired of people not respecting you even though you've been in the Pac-12 for five years and you go 9-4 the previous year. It just kind of gets old. As of now it's just kind of water off a duck's back to us, to be honest with you," Norris said. "It's just another game to us. We prepare every game the same and we're ready to go out there and show what we've worked for.

"All our guys are ready to go and we've been waiting for this for a long time," he added. "After the bowl game we had our first team meeting, and we put that Michigan dot up there and started preparing for that."

The biggest intrigue going into Thursday's game is what schemes Harbaugh's team will run, which has prompted Utah to watch film from about seven different teams, including Stanford and the San Francisco 49ers.

"There's always that question of if we're studying the right things and watching the right stuff," Wilson said. "We've been watching a lot of Harbaugh defense and watching their schemes and stuff. We're hoping that it's kinda spot on with everything. I'm just going to keep on preparing and make sure I'm ready for Thursday."

Josh Furlong


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