July 20, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY -
Utah Season Tickets
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UTES AT THE MWC MEDIA PREVIEW
Representing Utah at the Mountain West Conference Football Preview in Las Vegas, July 23-24, will be Head Coach Kyle Whittingham
, junior quarterback Brian Johnson
and senior defensive back Steve Tate
Fully recovered from December 2005 knee surgery, junior Brian Johnson
(6-1, 210) is considered the best returning quarterback in the conference by many and was cited as the preseason MWC Offensive Player of the Year by CollegeFootballNews.com and Blue Ribbon Yearbook. Johnson, who led the MWC and ranked No. 4 in the nation in total offense as a true sophomore in 2005, is also on the Maxwell Award Watch List (given to the nation's top collegiate quarterback.
One-time walk-on transfer Steve Tate
(5-11, 195, Sr.) led Utah in tackles last year from his free safety position with 102 stops. Tate, honorable mention all-MWC in 2006, ranked fourth in the league in tackles per game (8.5). He has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Watch List, putting him in contention for national defensive player of the year honors.
Third-year head coach Kyle Whittingham
is 15-10 overall and 2-0 in bowl games. In 13 years on the Utah staff (he served as the defensive line coach in 2004 and the defensive coordinator from 1995-2004), Whittingham has taken part in 101 victories against 51 losses. Utah has played in eight bowl games during his time on the staff - winning seven.
PRESEASON CAMP SCHEDULE
Aug. 4: Camp Begins
Aug. 8: Media Day, 3:00 p.m., Smith Center Auditorium
Aug. 10: Scrimmage, 8:45-10:45 a.m.
Aug. 11: Two-a-Day Practices Begin
Aug. 14: Scrimmage, 8:45-10:45 a.m.
Aug. 18: Scrimmage, 8:45-10:45 a.m. (Final day of camp)
Aug. 20: Classes Begin
Utah faces a treacherous preseason schedule, with road games scheduled at Oregon State (Aug. 30) and Louisville (Oct. 5), and a home game against UCLA (Sept. 15). The other non-conference game is against Utah State on Sept. 29. In the last four years, Utah is 8-3 against BCS schools. Wins have come against California, Oregon, Texas A&M, Arizona (twice), North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech.
The Utes will make five national television appearances this year, including a CSTV/VERSUS simulcast of the BYU game on Nov. 24 (also be televised regionally on The Mtn.). Other national games include UCLA (VERSUS), Louisville (ESPN), TCU (VERSUS) and Wyoming (CSTV). Additionally, Utah is scheduled for five regional appearances - four on The Mtn. and one (Oregon State) on FSN Northwest. The Oregon State game is available nationally as a part of the FOX Sports Satellite Network.
NEW IN 2007
The Utes plan to start a new tradition this fall for all home games. The Ute Walk will allow fans an opportunity to greet the team as it walks from the Smith Center to Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Ute Walk will begin two and a half hours prior to kickoff. The path will take the team down Guardsman Way and onto 500 South, before entering the south side of the stadium. The band, cheerleaders, Crimson Line and Swoop will lead the team on the walk.
Utah's most decorated returnee is junior kicker/punter Louie Sakoda
, who was the 2006 MWC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year. Sakoda was also the MVP of the Armed Forces Bowl. While Utah does not return any first team players, second-team all-conference returnees include junior quarterback Brian Johnson
(2005), senior linebacker Joe Jiannoni
and junior wide receiver Brent Casteel
NOTES FROM THE HUDDLE
There is no controversy at quarterback this year with the return of Brian Johnson
from the injured list. Johnson compared favorably with eventual starter Brett Ratliff
throughout training camp last August, despite the fact that his knee was not completely healed from surgery six months prior. A decision was reached to redshirt Johnson for the 2006 season on August 17 ... Walk-on kicker David Carroll
- Utah's starting field goal/PAT kicker as a true freshman in 2004 - has decided to concentrate on his studies at the U., while also holding a job, rather than play football this year ... Backup tackle Pauli Latu
is no longer on the roster after failing to meet team requirements. He plans to transfer to a junior college. Replacing Latu as Kenape Eliapo's
backups are redshirt freshman Neli A'asa
and junior college transfer Aaron Tonga
... With over a month left before the first home game, the Utah ticket office has sold 23,300 season tickets - the second-highest figure in school history (and best in a non-BYU home game year). The school record for season ticket sales was set last year (24,250).
Expected to report to camp on August 3 are 44 lettermen (21 offense, 20 defense, 3 specialists), 20 new signees, two returned missionaries, 15 redshirts and six non-lettered members of the squad. Up to 105 total players - including new walk-ons - are allowed to report to fall camp per NCAA rules. More players can be added to the roster once school starts.
Several Utes have made the early Watch Lists for national honors. They are: quarterback Brian Johnson
(Maxwell Award for the top collegiate quarterback), offensive lineman Robert Conley
(Outland Trophy for the best interior lineman), center Kyle Gunther
(Rimington Trophy for the top center) and Steve Tate
(Bronko Nagurski for the best defensive player).
Utah has won its last six bowl games dating back to 1999 - giving the Utes the second-longest bowl win streak in the nation behind Boston College (7). Ute bowl victims during the 6-0 run: Fresno State (1999), USC (2001), Southern Miss (2003), Pittsburgh (2004 season, 2005 calendar year), Georgia Tech (2005) and Tulsa (2006). Utah is 9-3 all-time in bowl games and its 75-percent postseason winning percentage is the best in the nation among teams that have played in at least 10 bowl games.