I’ve landed in Salt Lake City, and the conversation on the local sports talk station here as we drove into the city was the same as it was in Seattle last week — all Nick Holt, all the time. Well, it was for the 15 minutes or so I was listening, anyway.
What got their ire was a comment Holt made Thursday in his weekly interview with Dave “Softy” Mahler of KJR-AM in which he referred to Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium as a “nice, little stadium.” You can hear the interview here with the reference to the stadium at the very end.
Here’s the rest of the quote as Holt went on to say that “it’s nice and it gets a little loud and stuff like that, but it’s nothing like some of the other places we have been to, that’s for sure. But a very nice, little stadium.”
Not exactly Joe Namath guaranteeing a win. And given that Rice-Eccles has a capacity of 45,017, ahead of only WSU among Pac-12 stadium, Holt is technically correct. (And if you’re a UW fan, not sure I’d worry much as I can’t imagine the Utah fans will cheer any louder than they already planned to.)
But if you’re wondering what they were talking about as we landed here today, there you go.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— UW coach Steve Sarkisian was also on with Softy this morning before the team headed to Salt Lake City. Here’s the link.
A couple of interesting notes from that interview:
He said one of the pyschological advantages UW may have for this game is that the Huskies are used to playing in games like this while Utah might fall into being almost too hyped up and could make some mistakes, and if it does the Huskies need to take advantage;
— he also said his biggest concern is not wanting to give Utah short fields;
— he thinks the special teams is really close to breaking a return;
— he said UW needs to get more consistent in the running game where it has one or two long runs but then is held down in a lot of others;
— he said the defense has to get off the field on third downs;
— he said John Timu is doubtful but has been improving rapidly, but Jamaal Kearse will probably start and that Princeton Fuimaono can also play on that side if needed (which would mean Garret Gilliland playing on the other side);
— he said Keith Price “is better” but is not yet 100 percent.
— The Salt Lake Tribune notes that since Utah has already lost to USC, tomorrow’s game is pretty much a must-win for the Utes.
— The Trib also examines Utah’s success after bye weeks.
— Jarett Finau is mentiond in this story on the consequences of Pac-12 membership for schools with a lot of Mormons. (Finau’s likely making the trip to add depth at the DE spot, suddenly thinner than it was with the loss of Hau’oli Jamora, but there hasn’t been any thought he’s going to play).