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Hackett's Mailbag 2/15/17

Utah great Tom Hackett answers fans questions about all things Utah football...

He kicked his way into Utah fans’ hearts with a quick wit and a wizard-like ability to control the football on his way to becoming one of the greatest punters in college football history. Now Tom Hackett answers your questions about all things Utah football and the land down under. Here’s this week’s mailbag:

Q: What is Coach Whittingham’s decision-making process during a game which authorizes a fake punt. Does whit trust the punter to make the final call based on formation? - waterute

A: Throughout the course of the week the Special Teams meets every day and the coaching staff implements its game plan for that particular opponent. Every single game, we will have a punt fake, and that is not an exaggeration. Chances are, ‘fake left check’ (what we ran against Oregon, BYU and Colorado) will be in the mix. Coach Whitt will make the call on the sideline, if the middle shield does not like the look then he will opt out of it. If it is on, he will give a ‘set!’ call and away we go. In the ‘rugby’ formation, if they do not account for the punter then he is allowed to give a ‘go’ call, which is where the punter pulls the ball and runs (Idaho State – 2014). 

Q: ProKick Australia has obviously exploded onto the national scene. Will Utah continue to get their "pick" of punters that they go after from ProKick? – jonnyj20

A: With the recent success of Mitch and I, I can just about guarantee you while Utah is under Coach Whittingham’s reign, you will see a ProKick punter out there. If coach plays his cards right, and recruits the cream of the crop years in advance then Nathan (ProKick Australia Head Coach) will give Coach Whitt the best possible punter available.

Q: Let's hear it from the players. Does Whitt directly influence how the offense plays? I get that he is overall responsible for the entire team and can definitely give input, but how much direct influence does he enforce on the offense's ability to open up the playbook? – dhisatake1

A: Coach Whitt has publicly said that he only gives the offense one instruction – “take care of the football.” And I truly believe that. However, taking care of the football to me means one thing: play conservative. He needs to let Coach Taylor take complete control of the offense without any comments regarding taking care of the football. Lets be frank, Coach Taylor already knows he needs to take care of the football. He doesn’t need Coach Whitt intimidating him into thinking it’s a crime if they do not comply. That’s just my personal opinion.

Q: Seriously, what the hell is vegemite and why would you eat it? - Jhamelin

A: Honestly, Vegemite is a yeast extract from the bottom of a beer barrel. Do I need to say any more? Beer + yeast. The main reason Americans do not enjoy it is due to its bitter taste, all of your spreads are predominantly very sweet filled with sugar, peanut butter, jam/jelly, nutella etc. 

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