Jay Brossman and his Utah teammates will begin fall practices Monday.
Sept. 15, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY -- University of Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg will have his full 2007 squad together on the practice field for the first time Monday. That's when the Utes begin fall practices, which run through Oct. 10, in preparation for the 2007 season.
This fall's practice slate is filled with plenty of intrasquad scrimmages -- 14 to be exact -- in an effort to get Utah ready for the rigors of the upcoming season. Those scrimmages are scheduled for Sept. 18, 19, 22, 23, 25, 26, 28, 29, Oct. 2, 3, 6, 7, 9 and 10. Scrimmages will take place at 4:15 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. on weekends.
According to Kinneberg, the fall will be used primarily as competition for spots on the field. The Utes have been taking part in individual and small group workouts for the past three weeks. With 14 new players, Kinneberg said that time helped get the newcomers acquainted with their teammates and coaches. Now, he said, it is time to get to work.
"Our pitchers are really ready to start throwing against hitters," Kinneberg said. "Our position players and our pitchers are ready to compete for their spots."
The biggest hole for Utah will be that of departed shortstop Ryan Khoury, who spent the summer and fall in the Boston Red Sox minor-league organization.
"Shortstop is naturally the biggest fill for us," Kinneberg said. "Ryan just meant so much to us last year. But we feel good about transfer Nick Lowery and returner Tyler Kmetko, who will compete for that position."
The pitching staff will need to replace Josh Cooper, Utah's top starter for the past two seasons. But Kinneberg said there is a good balance among his 14 pitchers.
"We need to find out what our pitchers' capabilities, strengths and weaknesses are," Kinneberg said. "Then, we can work on those things in November and December to get them ready to pitch in February. I fee like we're more balanced all the way the way through. They've got great attitudes. Now we just have to see who will fill the starting, middle relief and closer roles."
The Utah head coach said much of the team is healthy and ready for fall practices. Pitcher Lucas Trinnaman will not participate in the fall, simply resting his arm after pitching a great deal in summer leagues. Pitchers Chad Cullers and Evan Bailey are both coming off surgery and will be out for the fall. All three pitchers are expected to be ready when the season gets under way in February.