Spencer Toone is a preseason all-MWC honoree.
July 28, 2005
Kyle Whittingham is preparing to conduct his first preseason camp as the head coach at the University of Utah. Camp starts on Thursday, Aug. 4 and concludes on Tue., Aug. 23 ... Practices are closed to the public (open to the media) ... As has been the case since 2003, the football team will hold its August practices at Ute Baseball Field, located on the east side of Guardsman Way ... Utah will hold 21 total practices from August 5-23 with an NCAA-mandated five-day acclimation period at the start ...Classes begin on August 24.
UTES GARNER PRESEASON RANKINGS
Three national college football publications have Utah ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation. Blue Ribbon College Football tabbed the Utes at No. 22, while both The Sporting News and Street & Smith's rank the Utes at No. 25 entering the season.
Returning from the 2004 squad are 40 lettermen and 11 full or part-time starters return for the Utes. The five starters back on offense are: David Dirkmaat, OL; Jesse Boone, OL; Tavo Tupola, OL; Travis LaTendresse, WR; John Madsen, WR; and Quinton Ganther, RB. Four starters return for the defense: Steve Fifita, DT; Ryan Smith, DB; Spencer Toone, LB; and Eric Weddle, DB. The defense would have had one more returning starter, but DE Marquess Ledbetter is out for the season with an injury suffered during off-season lifting. The kicking game will see kicker Bryan Borreson return ... 24 new scholarship athletes will join the team and 19 redshirts from 2004 will get their first opportunity at playing time.
Kyle Whittingham was named the head football coach at Utah on Dec. 8, 2004. Whittingham has been a member of the Ute staff since 1994, when he coached the defensive line for Utah's 10-2 Freedom Bowl champion team. He was promoted to defensive coordinator a year later--a position he held until his promotion to head coach seven months ago. In his 11 years as a Ute assistant, the program compiled an 86-41 record and played in six bowl games (winning five). He served as co-head coach at the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, helping to lead Utah to a 35-7 victory over Pittsburgh. The Ute defense recorded 14 top-20 statistical rankings during Whittingham's 10 years as the coordinator. Utah led the league in scoring defense in four of the last six years (placing second the other two).
Five national football publications have picked Utah to win its third-straight MWC championship and two others have the Utes placing second. Phil Steele, Athlon, The Sporting News, Street & Smith and Fox Sports all tabbed Utah for another crown, while Lindy's and Sportsline picked Utah second.
PRESEASON ALL-MWC UTES
Four Utes were named to the preseason all-conference team. The Utes honored were senior offensive lineman Jesse Boone, senior defensive lineman Steve Fifita, senior linebacker Spencer Toone and junior defensive back Eric Weddle. Fifita and Weddle were two of just three unanimous choices among the league's media, which votes on the preseason team. Fifita is Utah's only returning first-team selection. Boone and Weddle were second-team selections in 2004.
UTAH WINS PRESEASON NOD AGAIN
Utah was selected to repeat as the Mountain West Conference champion in a poll of the MWC media members, conducted at the annual MWC Football Preview in San Diego, July 18-19. The Utes claimed 18 of 30 first-place votes and 246 points. Last year, the Utes were also picked to win the league title in the preseason media poll
ESPN AGAIN FOR OPENER
For the second straight year, Utah will open its season on Sept. 2, at home, vs. a BCS school in an ESPN nationally televised game. Utah and Arizona will kick-off their respective 2005 campaigns on Friday, Sept. 2 starting at 6 p.m. (MDT) in Rice-Eccles Stadium.