One of the hardest workers for the Utes that people often give little thought to because he has been so near flawless at his job the past four years is finally a senior. Long snapper Chase Dominguez has been a luxury for Utah, dependable like clock work at a position that receives very little recognition until everything goes wrong.
“It’s good to be recognized at times but if I do get recognized most of the time it’s for the bad,” Dominguez said. “If I sail a high snap I’ll be on the news or whatever but it is nice when I get recognized by Andy [Phillips] or Mitch [Wishnowsky] because it does show they appreciate what I do.”
Thankfully Dominguez hasn’t been in the news for a bad snap in his career. Although he maybe came close once, last year against Oregon, but in the end it turned into one of the plays of the year for the Utes.
“So that play was a fake punt and everybody thinks it was a bad snap and [Tom] just made something out of it but it was a little high and luckily he has great hands and caught it and took off running,” Dominguez explained. “Luckily I made a good block and Tom got the first down and ran pretty far. That was pretty cool.”
However cool that play was for the general public though, it doesn’t compare to Dominguez’s favorite game of his career- something many fans have most likely long forgotten. “Probably my favorite play was my freshman year at Arizona,” he said. “I had two tackles that game and also a fumble recovery. So that was really cool for my first year and hopefully I’ll get a few more fumble recoveries but they don’t show up very often.”
Years later Dominguez is stunned how quickly his career at Utah has gone by. “It’s crazy how fast it went,” Dominguez said with a laugh. “It feels like just this last year I was putting the pads on for the first time and coming out here snapping to Tom [Hackett] for the first time.”
While time is ticking on Dominguez’s career one thing he insists will not be changing is how the Utes operate on special teams. “Look for the same kind of stuff. Mitch- I would say he has a little more strength than Tom on the traditional punts but just expect the same mentality we’ve had the last couple of years,” he said. “We look to be the best in the nation on punt again and hopefully Andy makes all of his field goals and we’ll be a great team again.”
Part of what makes special teams so special for Utah comes from the best advice Dominguez says he received since being in the program. “Just to keep my head down and keep working hard. Coming in it was definitely a big culture change from high school and being such a big program like this and having coach Whitt as our head coach he just wants us to be the best we can be every single day,” he said. “He thrives if we have not a great day to come back the next day with a clear mindset and keep working as hard as we can to be the best we can that day.”
Dominguez credits a lot of his success to fellow special teams teammate Andy Phillips who he is looking forward to wrapping up his career with. “When I came in he was my ‘big brother’- we have a big brother program here- and he showed me the ropes,” he explained of their relationship. “Whatever I needed he’d get it done. Tom as well, he’s just very good at queuing me and keeping me focused and ready to go each game.”
After walking out of Rice Eccles Stadium for the last time Dominguez will have two degrees- one in communications and the other in economics, however, he’s hoping to have a crack at the NFL. Something he knows will be hard, but feels he’s had the training and preparation to do well with at Utah.
“I know it’s pretty tough,” Dominguez said of his ambitions after school. “There are only 32 positions in the NFL for each team and they only carry one snapper at a time so I just have to go in there with a good mindset and be ready to beat out the guy that’s in there and get the job.”
No matter how things play out for him at the next level Dominguez wants fans and the future of Utah’s special teams to understand just how important the unit is to the overall success of the team. “I busted my ass everyday and gave it my best effort. Hopefully I have good snaps the rest of this year and let them know special teams is such a big part of the team,” he said. “Coach Whittingham says if you aren’t playing on special teams then you don’t have to be playing on offense or defense because it comes first. Just let them know, especially with me and Andy leaving that special teams is such a big part of the program.”