March 22, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY -
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UTES OPEN SPRING TRAINING SATURDAY
New Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham
will lead the Utes into spring drills starting Saturday, Mar. 26 at the McCarthey Practice Fields. The first practice will run from 10:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. There will be 15 total days of training, spread out over a four-week period and concluding with the third-annual Red-White game in Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, April 23. Practices, scrimmages and the Red-White game are free and open to the public.
The first two days of practice are designated as "no pads" and tackling does not begin until the fourth practice. The first full week of drills, Mar. 28-April 2, will consist of practices on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
On week days and two Saturdays (March 26, April 16), practices will be held at the McCarthey Practice Fields, weather permitting. Three Saturday sessions are scheduled for Rice-Eccles Stadium (April 2, 9 and 23). If the practice fields are soggy or otherwise unplayable during the week, practice will be moved to the stadium. If there is a downpour or snow on the Rice-Eccles Stadium turf, practice will be moved into the Spence Eccles Field House. Please check with the sports information office at 581-3511 for daily updates.
The Utes will scrimmage on Saturday, April 9 and 16. The first scrimmage will be held in Rice-Eccles Stadium and the second at the McCarthey Practice Fields. Both scrimmages are scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon.
On December 8, 2004, Kyle Whittingham
became the University of Utah's 20th head football coach. While it is his first head coaching job, Whittingham has overseen half of Utah's football team for the past decade as its defensive coordinator. He joined the Utes in 1994 as the defensive line coach and was promoted a year later to defensive coordinator--a position he held until becoming the head coach in December. In his 11 years as a Ute assistant, the program compiled an 86-41 record and played in six bowl games--winning five. On January 1, 2005, with Whittingham serving as co-head coach, Utah became the first non-BCS team to play in--and to win--a Bowl Championship Series game. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Brigham Young (1985-86). In 1987, he was both the defensive coordinator at College of Eastern Utah and a player for the Los Angeles Rams' replacement squad. His first full-time NCAA coaching job was at Idaho State, where he spent six years (1988-93), his last two as defensive coordinator.
Utah returns 43 lettermen and 12 starters (10 full-time) from its record-breaking 2004 team that went 12-0 and beat Pittsburgh in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Six starters (five full-time) return for the offense and five starters are back for the defense. Bryan Borreson
, the starting place kicker for the first half of the 2004 season before being sidelined by a groin injury, hopes to be full strength by August.
First-team all-conference defensive tackle Steve Fifita
leads Utah's honor candidates. Fifita will vie for All-America honors his senior year, along with junior strong safety Eric Weddle
(second-team all-MWC last fall) and senior linebacker Spencer Toone
(honorable mention all-MWC in 2004). Other all-conference candidates include: center Jesse Boone
(second-team all-MWC in 2004), running back Quinton Ganther
(honorable mention all-MWC in 2004), offensive linemen Tavo Tupola
and David Dirkmaat
, defensive end Marquess Ledbetter
, cornerback Ryan Smith
, and receivers Travis LaTendresse
and John Madsen
ODDS & ENDS
Young linebackers will get an extra long look this spring in the absence of Spencer Toone
and Kyle Brady
. Both players had shoulder surgery in the off-season and anticipate a full recovery by fall ... Receiving medical hardship extensions for another year of eligibility were senior receiver Travis LaTendresse
and senior safety Kawika Casco
. Casco will be very limited in the spring while continuing to heal from his second ACL surgery in as many years (he missed both the 2003 and 2004 seasons) ... Senior kicker Bryan Borreson
will participate in some drills but likely won't kick much as he continues to recover from November surgery (groin) ... All-conference lineman Steve Fifita
will move from nose guard to tackle, leaving his old position to Idaho transfer Kelly Talavou
, a redshirt last fall ... Members of the most recent signing class who are already on campus and will participate in spring drills include: defensive lineman Randy Falatoi, wide receiver Brian Hernandez and linebacker Reggie Turner ... Three missionaries from earlier signing classes will participate for the first time this spring: linebacker Semisi Livai
, defensive back Kyler Rushton
and linebacker Andrew Smart.