March 29, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
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FIRST SPRING SCRIMMAGE SATURDAY
The Utah football team is in week two of spring ball and will finish the week with a scrimmage in Rice-Eccles Stadium, Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The scrimmage, like all Ute spring practices, is open to the public. The Utes will also practice on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of this week. Friday is a non-tackling practice. Practices on Tuesday and Thursday are scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Friday's practice is set for 4:15-6:00 p.m.
Most weekday practices will be held at the McCarthey Practice Fields. Saturday scrimmages are planned for Rice-Eccles Stadium. Please check with the sports information office at 581-3511 for daily updates.
All interviews with Head Coach Urban Meyer
, his staff and players must be arranged through Assistant Athletics Director Liz Abel (801-581-3511). Interviews are conducted at the conclusion of practice unless otherwise arranged through Abel. During spring drills only, television cameras are welcome the entire practice.
The second annual Red-White game will be held on Saturday, Apr. 17 from noon-3 p.m. in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The public is invited free of charge to the game, which will signal the end to spring camp. Pre-game tailgating is encouraged and space for tailgaters will be designated in the west lot adjacent to Rice-Eccles Stadium. Following the game, fans will have the opportunity to collect autographs from the players. Preceding the spring game will be a flag football game featuring the "Muss," Utah's student fan club. The Muss game will start at 11 a.m.
UTAH MAN SEARCH
A "Utah Man" is about to become a part of Utah football lore. Head coach Urban Meyer
and his staff will hold student-body tryouts to select two players as the Utah Man, starting with a required meeting on April 5. The Utah Man will play for Utah's kick-off coverage team in the 2004 season and seasons to come. He will represent the uniting force between the student body and the football team. The name on the jersey of the two students chosen will say Utah Man. Interested students must attend an information and compliance meeting on April 5 at 4 p.m. and participate in a conditioning and strength test on April 12 at 2 p.m. Both meetings are in the Smith Athletics Center located on Guardsman Way. Questions regarding the Utah Man will be addressed at the April 5 meeting. For any other inquiries, contact Kim Raap at 581-3542 or by email at email@example.com.
Three Utes have sustained injuries that most likely mean the end of their spring training. Offensive lineman Steve Dahl (knee), defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene
(hamstring) and wide receiver Rob Gueck
(shoulder) are expected to be full strength when the team resumes practice in August ... Receiver Thomas Huff
(knee) is questionable to practice this week ... The injury to Fanene will mean more playing time for freshman backup Tony Castaldi
. Senior Reza Williams
will also play at end in Fanene's absence-moving over from open end, where he backs up.
ESPN.com senior writer Ivan Maisel, in his preseason poll issued on March 11, has ranked the Utes No. 10 in the nation. Maisel's latest top 25: 1. USC, 2. LSU, 3. Georgia, 4. Oklahoma, 5. Miami, 6. Texas, 7. Florida State, 8. Michigan, 9. Maryland, 10. Utah, 11. California, 12. West Virginia, 13. Ohio State, 14. Tennessee, 15. Iowa, 16. Auburn, 17. Missouri, 18. Clemson, 19. Florida, 20. Virginia, 21. Purdue, 22. Kansas State, 23. Minnesota, 24. Oregon State, 25. Toledo.
is 10-2 in one season at Utah and 27-8 in three years as a head coach. He was named the 2003 National Coach of the Year by The Sporting News and was also elected the 2003 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year. Meyer capped his first season at Utah with a win over Southern Mississippi in the Liberty Bowl. He led Utah to a No. 21 final ranking in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls. Meyer became the first Ute coach to go to a bowl game in his first year. Ditto for his 10 wins, which also tied the school record. Against BCS teams, Meyer has an impressive 7-1 career mark, with the only blemish a 28-26 setback to Texas A&M in 2003. Meyer, 39, was hired by Utah on Dec. 12, 2002 after leading Bowling Green to a two-year record of 17-6. Under Meyer, BGSU cracked the AP Top 20 after starting the 2002 season with eight straight wins. Named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year as a first-year head coach in 2001, Meyer went 8-3 and 9-3 in his two years at BG. His previous coaching stops included assistantships at Ohio State (graduate assistant), Illinois State, Colorado State and Notre Dame.
"We had four excellent days of practice last week. We've identified weaknesses that need to be corrected. Most of them have to do with depth. We have good players but no depth at some positions. Two big concerns are backups at quarterback and kicker.
"I thought Mike Liti performed very well at tailback in the first week. He is more physical and is running harder than last year. The offensive line remains a problem area. We need to find our five best guys there. Defensively, losing Jonathan Fanane to an injury really sets us back. He is a guy who needs to practice to be a starter.
"This week we'll continue installing on offense and defense. We also want to find out who the playmakers are on this team. We know what Paris Warren can do. We don't need to have him run a reverse and score. We know what Morgan Scalley, Eric Weddle and Spencer Toone can do. We need to find out what Gerald Fletcher, Ryan Smith and Shaun Harper can do. I am going to put a lot of pressure on the position coaches to put untested players in tough situations.
"Saturday's scrimmage will likely be the longest of the spring. I am not placing a premium on execution. That's for the fall."