April 6, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
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UTES DOWN TO LAST TWO WEEKS
The Utah football team is gearing up for the last seven practices of the spring, three which will be held this week. A tackling practice is scheduled for Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. and non-tackle day is scheduled for Thursday from 3-5 p.m. The week will conclude with a scrimmage-the second of the spring-which will start at 10:30 a.m. in Rice-Eccles Stadium.
UTAH MAN IS CLOSING IN
Forty-four U. students-including one woman-signed up to try out for the new "Utah Man" position that head coach Urban Meyer
will implement this fall. The brainchild of Meyer and assistant marketing director Kim Raap, the Utah Man will play for Utah's kick-off coverage team this fall and in seasons to come. He or she will represent the uniting force between the student body and the football team. A to-be-determined number of players will be chosen at the April 12 tryouts to be a Utah Man. The name on their jerseys will say Utah Man.
Walk-on Adam Madsen from Dixie State College has moved ahead of walk-on junior Brigham Au
for the No. 2 quarterback spot ... Martail Burnett
, who practiced at safety as a freshman last fall, has moved to open end and is playing well behind starter Marquess Ledbetter
... New spring walk-on Kite Afeaki has been impressive as the backup at tackle ... Some projected backups are getting more time than the starters this spring. Performing especially well have been right corner Gerald Fletcher
, free safety Fano Tagovailoa and receivers Justin Walker and John Madsen
... The fastest 40 time in spring tests was turned in by freshman receiver Derrek Richards
, who was hand clocked at 4.25 seconds. Other speedsters include Fletcher (4.31), defensive back Ryan Smith
(4.41) and juco transfer Justin Walker (4.41).
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.
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.
"I don't mean to sound like we're going easy on them, because we're not, but certain players have proved themselves and I don't need to watch them much in scrimmage situations. I'm talking about guys like Paris Warren
, Steve Savoy, Morgan Scalley
and Eric Weddle
. We're getting a good look at their backups and I have been very impressed with (wide receivers) Justin Walker and John Madsen
and (defensive backs) Gerald Fletcher
and Ryan Smith
. Walker, Fletcher and Smith are three of the fastest guys on the team. I am really pleased with our team speed overall. It seems improved from last year.
"We basically have five days of practice left because the day before the spring game (April 17) is just shorts day and we'll run a very limited package on both sides of the ball in the spring game. So the next five days are critical. We'll run our whole packages-offense and defense-against each other like we did last week."