Utah Utes football notebook: Vroman erasing worries about replacing Sakoda as kicker

first_imgBesides getting settled on a starter at the quarterback position, perhaps the biggest concern for Ute football coaches in camp has been the kicking game. Replacing a player such as all-American Louie Sakoda, a three-year starter at punter and placekicker, is a tough task.After Thursday’s scrimmage, coach Kyle Whittingham was all smiles while talking about the kicking game.Ben Vroman, who handled kickoffs the last two years, is No. 1 on the depth chart at placekicker, and he showed why Thursday.He went 7-for-7 on the day, making field goals from 49 and 43 yards as well as from 39, 36, 35, 31 and 26 yards.”I was very pleased with the placekicking today,” Whittingham said. “We did a bunch of placekicking in live situations, and Ben Vroman was clearly the top guy and right now unless something dramatic happens, he’ll be handling the kickoffs and the placekicking.”Besides Vroman, freshman Nick Marsh made a 33-yard field goal and Joe Phillips a 36-yarder.”It was a good day for the specialists group,” said Vroman, a senior out of Skyline High. “Spring was a little rough for us, but the first part of the camp we’ve definitely taken some steps forward.”Whittingham also said punter Sean Sellwood was back in action after sitting out earlier in the week and did a “nice job” punting the ball Thursday.”I’m very happy with the whole kicking battery,” said Whittingham. “It’s all way ahead of where we were in the spring.”NOT GOOD ENOUGH: While much of the focus has been on the offensive side of the ball, the defense has been improving each day of practice. However, new defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake was not happy with the defense at Thursday’s scrimmage.”The guys are energetic and running around, but we had too many missed assignments and too many missed tackles,” he said. “Nobody was great today. We were just good. But good is not good enough for this program.”Sitake said the defense did rest seven starters as a precaution, but he still expected more.”It was an opportunity for our inexperienced guys to get in there and play some ball and get some experience,” he said. “But it wasn’t clean enough and crisp enough. We had a lot of mistakes. We need to stay focused on our fundamentals and our technique. We’re anxious for the next time to go live.”ROBLES BACK: Lost amid all the talk about the three-way battle for quarterback is the return of Griff Robles, the highly recruited QB from Spanish Fork High School.The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Robles returned from an LDS mission in June and wasn’t expected to play this fall but was given the scholarship saved for James Aiono, who didn’t qualify academically for this fall.If Robles doesn’t get a chance at quarterback, he may have a future as a defender, a another former quarterback from Utah County, PaulKruger.Robles took some snaps at the end of Thursday’s scrimmage and after getting picked off by Thor Salanoa he laid out the defender with a hard tackle on the sideline.When asked about it later, Sitake said, “That was the hardest hit all day.”EXTRA POINTS: Rice-EcclesStadium will have two new banners on the west side of the stadium this year, commemorating the 2004 season and Fiesta Bowl victory and the 2008 season and SugarBowl victory … Jake Orchard, an all-state receiver for Highland in 2005, has joined the team as a walk-on after recently returning from an LDS mission. He was recruited out of high school by several schools for football but opted to accept a scholarship to play basketball for Weber State as a freshman … The next scrimmage will be Tuesday at the stadium with the final scrimmage set for Aug. 22.last_img read more

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ONSTAGE REVIEW: “Christmas Spirit” a darkly charming alternative to standard holiday…

first_img“The Christmas Spirit” runs through Dec. 21, the John Hand Theatre, Colorado Free University, 7653 E. 1st Place, Lowry. Tickets start at $20. Information: 303-562-3232 or firehousetheatercompany.com. Tinsel, egg nog and fancy gifts have a way of warming the hearts of even the most bitter and disagreeable Scrooges at Christmas time.In Frederick Stroppel’s dark comedy “The Christmas Spirit,” even the Grim Reaper can’t escape the lure and promise of the holiday season. The Dickensian ideal of family, friends and a big roast goose has charmed Death to the point that he’s distracted from his job. The quaint ideal of a perfect Christmas makes the Grim Reaper forget his duty as the collector of souls and focus instead on wearing the rind kind of sweater and bringing the right kind of gifts to a holiday party.The premise is admittedly macabre and surreal, and the current production of “The Christmas Spirit” at the John Hand Theatre faces plenty of challenges in realizing the comedy’s full potential. A dark piece about Death coming to dinner poses technical challenges, and the tiny theater’s tight confines could easily turn into a roadblock.But the intimate scope of the place never gets in the way of finding the heart of this charming show. Considering the admirable track record of the John Hand’s home troupes, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that director Clint Heyn and a strong cast bring Stroppel’s twisted holiday cheer to life in a venue of less than 80 seats.Even so, the professionalism and vibrancy of this show is impressive from the very start. Strong and subtle performances carry the show through an unlikely premise, and the Firehouse Theatre Company shows once again that the small size of the theater is no limitation. In a theater scene crowded with typical holiday fare, “The Christmas Spirit” stands out as truly unique and unexpected storytelling.The intrigue kicks off when Julia Dowling (Emma Messenger) wakes up late at night on Christmas Eve to find an uninvited Visitor (Jeff Jesmer) prowling around her living room. The Visitor, it turns out, is Death. He’s come for Julia’s soul. There’s no talking him out of his mission.Except, there is. Julia’s pleas for a literal stay of execution starts carrying weight when the talk turns to Christmas. Dowling promises a Christmas feast for the next night. She insists that the celebration will include roast goose, gifts, family and all of the staples of greeting card celebration.That wins over the visitor. He’s heard about the charm of a traditional Christmas from Charles Dickens himself. He’s always wanted to take part in a true Christmas celebration. He leaves and promises to return for Christmas dinner the following evening.Julia finds herself pressed to organize a Christmas celebration straight out of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” She makes hasty invitations to her sister and her brother-in-law (Sarah MacMillan and Greg West), as well as her closeted son Paul(Doug Tisdale) and a priest, Father John Brennan (Jim Landis). She makes her daughter Beth (Jean Schuman) hunt down a goose and other staples for the perfect meal.When Death arrives the next night with a guest in tow (a recent suicide victim played by Kristjan Jesmer), Julia’s made every effort to recreate the ideal holiday and stave off her doom.Emma Messenger and Jeff Jesmer are the highlights of the comedy here, and they take on the demands of their roles with a compelling energy. Jesmer manages to balance the duties of being a wide-eyed innocent and the grim harbinger of doom; Dowling’s frenzied attempts to avoid death are hilarious at first, and moving by the end of the show. The two leads find support in an able ensemble. MacMillan and West offer hilarious moments as old grumps, Schuman is endearing as Julia’s daughter and Father Brennan’s unwitting discussions with the Grim Reaper are magical.The plot may be a very transparent take on the “Death Takes a Holiday” motif, but Stroppel’s approach to the idea of Death taking human form is plenty original. That originality depends a lot on timing and nuance, and the Firehouse production has plenty, despite the small scale of the space. THREE STARS OUT OF FOURlast_img read more

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Prez Sirleaf Congratulates Great Britain

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent a message of congratulations and best wishes to the Government and People of Great Britain on the re-election of David Cameron as Prime Minister.President Sirleaf noted that the renewal of his mandate further demonstrated the trust and confidence of the People of the United Kingdom in his visionary leadership.She said that on May 9, 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of Liberia as an Ebola transmission-free country.  Much of this was the result of an impressive assistance received from the International community, including Great Britain.According to the President, the resilience of Liberians has largely contributed to the country’s triumph over the deadly Ebola Virus Epidemic, which plagued Liberia for several months.“Liberia continues to remain grateful for Great Britain’s assistance, particularly targeting the infrastructure and health sector.”  She entertained the hope that as Prime Minister Cameron assumes his demanding role, the bonds of friendship and cooperation subsisting between the two countries would be further deepened. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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