Utah’s Norm Chow downplays facing his old team UCLA
Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow will face his former employer when UCLA plays the Utes on Saturday.
Chow was the Bruins’ offensive coordinator last season but was indifferent about playing against a past paycheck.
“I am too old for all that,” Chow said. “It’s another game that these guys have to win to be bowl-eligible, and I’m serious about that.”
Utah, like UCLA, is 5-4, one victory shy of bowl eligibility.
This is the third time this season that he has faced a former team.
Utah lost to USC, 23-14, and buried rival Brigham Young, 54-10. He was offensive coordinator at both schools, winning a national title at both.
Chow has a 3-5 record against former teams — 0-4 against USC, 3-1 against BYU.
Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham said: “Norm is very diplomatic, very smooth. He knows how to handle himself. This hasn’t been any sort of a distraction for us. It’s been business as usual.”
Others are soft-selling the reunion as well.
UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria posted on Twitter last summer, “Dear Chow, I’m so glad you’re gone. Can’t wait to beat that [butt] Nov. 12!! Enjoy that big check! You don’t deserve any of it.”
Fauria on Tuesday said he had “no regrets” about the posting but added, “Sometimes you say things out of frustration, and that’s what I did. I have nothing but respect for Coach Chow. He has been around the game far longer than I have.”
UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel said Chow “keeps it all about the game.” Still, he acknowledged, “everybody who competes wants to whip people they used to work for, we understand that.”
Dye back, Riley not
Safety Tony Dye, out six weeks because of a nerve problem in his neck, returned to practice Tuesday. He did individual drills and played on the scout team, though he was wearing a red no-contact jersey.
“He is pain-free, but he has also been told that he needs to be pain-free for a while,” Neuheisel said. “So I’m going to leave that to the experts.”
Safety Dietrich Riley was at a doctor’s office Tuesday. He was taken to a hospital after suffering a neck injury in the California game Oct. 29.
“He is being checked for what he needs to do to get himself back into playing condition,” Neuheisel said. “I don’t think they’re at the point where they think it is unsafe for him to play. I don’t think we have gotten to that situation yet.”
Athletic Director Dan Guerrero, in his weekly blog to donors and boosters, said UCLA has “negotiated a deal that will feature the Bruins against a marquee opponent at Cowboys Stadium. An official announcement should be coming in the next few days.” … Quarterback Richard Brehaut (broken leg) did individual drills Tuesday but was still noticeably limping.… Cornerback Aaron Hester was reprimanded by the Pac-12 for comments about referees following UCLA’s victory over Arizona State.
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