With A Little More Experience, Utah Is Hoping For A Better Rose Bowl Result
SALT LAKE CITY- Utah football is in the middle of preparations for their second Rose Bowl appearance and having already been there just a year prior is something the team hopes will be an advantage. The Rose Bowl will always hold a certain mystique no matter how many times you go but knowing what to expect and not having near the novelty as first-timers is keeping the focus a little more in the building this time around.
— Rose Bowl Game (@rosebowlgame) December 4, 2022
“I think experience helps you anytime you are in a situation like this,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said after practice. “I think it helped us in the last two championship games by going to the first two back in ’19 and ’18. I think that is always a positive thing. It doesn’t guarantee or mean you’re going to play well, but it does give you a reference point and some opportunity to learn from what you did well or didn’t do so well in the last year’s preparation and apply it this year for the betterment.”
All Gas, No Breaks For Utah
Going to the Rose Bowl last season win or loss was amazing for the Utes for a lot of reasons, but the novelty of simply “being there” has worn off. Utah expects to win and will be doing everything in their power according to receiver Devaughn Vele to make sure they finish the job against Penn State.
“This is our second time in two years going to the Rose Bowl,” Vele said. “We’re kind of prepared for it. We’re just focusing on a better outcome than last year. Making sure we just do little things right and we’re really harping on keeping that same tenacity in the championship game. Getting in that extra film study and extra work on the field to make sure we are ready for the Rose Bowl and come out as champions.”
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Tight end Thomas Yassmin agrees that this time the Utes are a little more prepared in regards as to what to expect. Most of the team has been there and experienced the Rose Bowl from the year prior and the hope is this trip is a little more “business-like” than the time before.
“We’re all obviously excited, but we’ve been there, seen it and know what the atmosphere is like,” Yassmin said. “Right now we are going in there and playing another game. I think that was just the case with the Pac-12 Championship. We’re going there and it’s just another weekly game for us.”
For team captain and quarterback Cam Rising, it’s still about having some fun and enjoying the experience the Rose Bowl provides. However, he’s hopeful that some of the noise from the year prior will be absent as Utah prepares for their big game against the Nittany Lions.
“I think there is a lot less hoopla going on around it and you’re just more focused on going to the game,” Rising said. “Of course, you’re going to be excited to go to Disneyland and everything like that. I’m looking forward to that, but besides that we are going down to win a football game.”
Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports
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