Pac-12: Michael Walker

Pac-12 announces players of the week

September, 23, 2013
9/23/13
6:00
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The Pac-12 has announced its players of the week. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson got the offensive honors, Oregon State cornerback Steven Nelson was named defensive player of the week and USC punter Kris Albarado got the special teams honors.

Some more details on the winners, per the Pac-12’s release:
Wilson, a sophomore from San Clemente, Calif., completed 24 of 35 passes for 273 yards and no interceptions in leading Utah to a 20-13 victory over BYU, the fourth-straight win over their in-state rival. His 74-yard second-quarter pass to Dres Anderson was his fifth pass play of more than 50 yards this season and set up a touchdown that put Utah up 13-0 just before halftime. Clinging to a 13-6 fourth-quarter lead, Wilson engineered a 12-play, 79-yard drive that concluded with a 2-yard touchdown pass and extended the Utes’ lead to 20-6.

Nelson, a junior from Atlanta, Ga., stepped in front of a San Diego State pass and returned it 16 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the Beaver’s come-from-behind 34-30 win over the Aztecs on Saturday night. The interception came with 2:31 left in the game with Oregon State down by three after they had faced deficits of 13 and nine points earlier in the second half. Nelson co-leads the nation with four picks on the year and is the first player in team history to have four interceptions in his first four career games.

Albarado, a sophomore punter from Lake Charles, La., helped stymie the Utah State offense with his precision punting in the Trojan’s 17-14 victory on Saturday at the Coliseum. Five of his seven punts pinned the Aggies within the 20-yard line, including two inside the five, leading to an average starting field position for Utah State on their own 21-yard line. The first-year punter is averaging 40.3 yards on 23 boots, with more than half (12) of those backing opponents within their own 20. He has a pair of 50-yard punts on the season, including a best of 64 yards.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were quarterbacks Sean Mannion of Oregon State and Keith Price of Washington; running back Jordon James of UCLA; and wide receivers Jaelen Strong of Arizona State, Ty Montgomery of Stanford and Gabe Marks of Washington State. Also nominated for defensive player of the week honors were defensive ends Cassius Marsh of UCLA, Leonard Williams of USC and Hau’oli Kikaha of Washington; defensive back Michael Walker of Utah; and linebacker Darryl Monroe of Washington State. Also nominated for special teams player of the week honors were punters Keith Kostol of Oregon State and Tom Hackett of Utah and UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn.

Spring concludes: Utah

April, 15, 2011
4/15/11
1:30
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Spring game: The Red-White game will be played in Rice-Eccles Stadium at 3 p.m. ET or 1 p.m. MST. Admission is free.

What happened: The Utes had a handful of goals this spring, including installing a new offense with coordinator Norm Chow, finding a backup QB behind Jordan Wynn, figuring out a pecking order at running back and completely rebuilding the secondary. Based on the scrimmages, the defense is ahead of the offense in achieving those goals. With Wynn sitting out after shoulder surgery, neither Tyler Shreve nor Griff Robles was able to consistently assert himself, so it's possible that new JC transfer Jon Hays could get into the picture this fall. It didn't help that a couple of key players were banged up on the offensive line. Things were encouraging on defense, where a number of youngsters stepped up to fill voids on the line and in the secondary.

What's ahead: The big question in preseason camp will be getting Wynn up to speed with Chow's offense, then figuring out who the backup will be. Former rugby star Thretton Palamo was the surprise star of the running back competition, but that competition is on-going with John White and Harvey Langi. All three figure to get plenty of touches. A number of players who missed much or all of the spring with injuries will re-entering competitions in August. Pecking orders don't seem firm at defensive end and in the secondary just yet.

Spring stars: Palamo, at 6-foot-2, 237 pounds, is intriguing because of his raw mix of size and speed. Sophomore DE Joe Kruger was a consistent presence on the edge. Redshirt freshman receiver Dres Anderson moved past junior Reggie Dunn on the two-deep. Terrell Reese, Michael Walker, Tyrone Morris-Edwards and Damian Payne have eased concerns at safety. Junior cornerback Ryan Lacy had a nice spring. When healthy, John Cullen and Tony Bergstrom give the Utes a strong combo at OT.

Notes: Players who won't play in the spring game for precautionary reasons or injuries include Jordan Wynn, Star Lotulelei, Joape Pela, Matt Martinez, Vyncent Jones, J.J. Williams, Sam Brenner, Greg Bird, Tony Bergstrom, James Aiono, DeVonte Christopher, Lei Talamaivao, Chaz Walker, Kendrick Moeai, Ryan Lacy, Dallin Rogers and John Cullen, among others. Others such as Brian Blechen, Conroy Black, Joe Kruger and Derrick Shelby will play only in the first half.

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