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Junior Tafuna, Karene Reid Ready To Wreck Havoc On Big 12 Offenses

Jul 9, 2024, 3:26 PM

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LAS VEGAS – Both Junior Tafuna and Karene Reid are ready to show Big 12 offenses what the Utah Utes defense is all about.

The defensive tackle and linebacker joined the KSL Sports Zone from the Big 12 Media Days to talk about the state of the defense and the Utes’ new chapter.

The Utah Defense Standard

The Utah Football team prides itself on its physicality and aggressive defense.

Reid said that there is a standard for Utes defenders but it only ends up making everyone better.

“There’s a standard there,” Reid said. “There is a little bit of pressure. But, that’s alright. That’s what pushes us to be great. Since the day I got there. It’s been really high linebacker play and all I try to do is maximize that.”

At the same time, Utah has lived up to those expectations in recent years.

Tafuna said that there is a bunch of talent in the locker room and everyone is fighting both for themselves and the team.

“We’re ridiculously blessed,” Tafuna said. “(There’s a) whole lot of competition there. That’s what pushes us to be great. We’re always competing against each other in anything we do. It’s a healthy competition too because we all love each other and do our best for each other. ”

Looking Forward To First Year In Big 12

Even with the big expectations looming over Utah in its first year as a member of the Big 12, the Utes couldn’t be more excited to get started.

“Every day I ask Siri how many days until August 29th,” Tafuna said. “That’s how anxious I am. Not even anxious, just to go and give it our last shot.”

Plus, there are some extra motivators going into 2024.

Reid spoke on the Utah-BYU rivalry and what that game means for everyone involved.

“Just being from Utah, (the BYU game) already means so much,” Reid said. “With it being in conference play and affecting your record, it definitely means more. That game will always have its own juice.”

RELATED: Big 12 Commish Sees BYU-Utah Among ‘Critical’ League Rivalries

About 2024 Big 12 Media Days

For the first time, the Big 12 is making its way to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, is hosting the two-day event on Tuesday, July 9, and Wednesday, July 10.

The BYU Cougars will be attending their second Media Day as a member of the Big 12 after joining the conference in 2023. Last year, the Media Days were held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Utah is one of four newcomers to the Big 12 in 2024. The Utes will have a sense of familiarity at Allegiant Stadium though, having attended the 2023 Pac-12 Media Day at Resorts World in Las Vegas.

Chandler Holt is a co-host of the Jazz Notes podcast, a Locals In The NFL Insider, and Digital Sports Producer for Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Junior Tafuna, Karene Reid Ready To Wreck Havoc On Big 12 Offenses