Utah Athletics Providing Fan Cutouts At RES, Virtual Football Huddle Before Game Day

Nov 3, 2020, 12:59 PM

San Jose State v Utah - MUSS (Might Utah Student Section)...

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 16: The Utah Utes MUSS section cheers during the second half of an college football game against the San Jose State Spartans on September 16, 2017 at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah defeated San Jose 54-16. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Athletics is providing multiple ways for fans to stay connected to the football program leading up to and on game day.

The Utes will open the 2020 season on Saturday, November 7 at Rice-Eccles Stadium against the Arizona Wildcats.

“We want to thank all of our fans for their patience, perseverance and support,” said director of athletics Mark Harlan. “We would not be at this place without that support, and we are always so grateful for it, but especially now. The ability for us to be able to take care of our student-athletes, in an even more profound manner, has been because of the great support that our fans and donors have always put forth.”

Fan Cut-Outs

Just like most stadiums across the country that isn’t allowing fans attend football games, Utah is recognizing supporters with fan cutouts in the north end zone of Rice-Eccles Stadium. They will display 400 fan cutouts that recognize some of the faces of the 336 who made donations to the “Reinvest In U” campaign earlier this year to support student-athlete services and scholarships. Former Utah players and celebrities will also have cutouts displayed in the north end zone of the stadium.

Through the “Reinvest In U” campaign, donors committed $521,000 as tax-deductible donations and 73 percent of season ticket holders contributed in some fashion, totaling $15 million into Utah Athletics to support student-athletes.

Crowd Noise

During the game on Saturday, Utah will be allowed to pipe in ambient crowd noise. The level for normal play is 75 decibels, while the level can increase in the event of big plays.

On Oct. 26, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was asked during fall camp availability how his team is preparing to play without fans in attendance.

“Well, we’ve already begun practicing with the ambient noise,” said Whittingham. “The crowd level and the decibel level that is supposed to be at. We’ve already had that going on at both of the scrimmages. I think it’s 70 decibels for just normal times and you can raise it to 90 if something exciting happens. We practice with that, now it’s going to be different no matter how you cut it with nobody in the stands, or very few people in the stands will be a different deal. Players seem to get on autopilot and hit a groove you’re on the field and you’re playing, you don’t really notice very often the surroundings. Our stadium is awesome. We feel we have some of the best fans in the country and certainly does give your players a boost emotionally particularly on big downs and when things are going on that are exciting but players for the most part are locked in a zone and oblivious to what’s going on around them.”

Virtual Huddle

Due to the pandemic, there will be no pregame Ute Walk this season along with no marching band, fireworks or cannon blast at the stadium. Utah Athletics is partnering with the University of Utah Alumni Association to bring a number of traditions and engagement pieces to fans and alumni in the form of the Utah Football Virtual Huddle. It is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

Fans can participate in the Virtual Huddle online by going to the U Alumni YouTube Channel at the time of the huddle. The event will feature an introductory address from President Ruth V. Watkins, appearances from the Utah Spirit Squad, The Muss, among other features.

Einar Nielsen Roof Project

During the game on Saturday, fans will likely notice that the “UTAH” lettering on the roof of the Einar Nielsen Field House is gone. The Field House is undergoing a roof project which will be completed in several months. The “UTAH” display will return to the Field House roof when completed.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Utah Athletics Providing Fan Cutouts At RES, Virtual Football Huddle Before Game Day