July 30, 2012
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SALT LAKE CITY--
Complete Release in PDF
FALL CAMP WEEK 1
The Utah football team kicks off its annual preseason camp on Thursday, Aug. 2 with the first of 20 practices prior to the start of classes. All three practices this week will be held on Ute Baseball Field on Guardsman Way. The camp concludes on Aug. 18. See sidebar for this week's practice times and media access. Practices and scrimmages are closed to the public. Media opportunities are listed on the sidebar on this page (note: live reports of any kind are impermissible from practice/scrimmages).
INSIDE THE HUDDLE
Junior safety Brian Blechen
will sit out the first three games of the season (Northern Colorado, Utah State and Brigham Young) for a violation of team rules. Blechen will participate in practices throughout his suspension ... Of Utah's 22-member signing class, all but eight enrolled in summer school and participated in voluntary workouts. Among those who were not on campus this summer, five will serve church missions before coming to school: Jake Jackson, Austin Lee, Nua Poteki, Pasoni Tasini and Vaha Vainuku. Planning to grayshirt this season and join the Utes in January are Lio Lafaele
, Zach Lindsay
and Moana Ofahengaue
... There have been several changes to the pre-camp depth chart. See page 4 of this release for the new depth chart.
ON THE SIDELINES
, who missed the last eight games of 2011 with an injury and subsequent surgery to his right shoulder, is out for the coming season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder on July 9. McGill moved from safety to corner in the spring and made the two deep. The senior has a redshirt season available ... JC transfer Marc Pouvave
(Southwestern College) injured his Achilles last week and underwent surgery on July 27. Projected to battle for the starting job at offensive tackle, Pouvave is instead out for the season ... True freshman defensive back Alphonso Marsh
could miss all of fall camp after an appendectomy.
Some changes and additions have been made to the game day atmosphere elements in Rice-Eccles Stadium for the coming season. In a collaboration among Utah athletics staff, the MUSS and select fans, the Crazy Lady will now perform near the end of halftime (approximately the 4:00 mark) instead of at the third quarter break to get the fans on their feet as the Utes run out of the locker room ... The group also arrived at a new activity designed to encourage fan participation during the third quarter break. The beat of a taiko, a Japanese drum that is 72" in diameter and weighs more than 600 pounds, will permeate the stadium during the break and fans can clap along to the beat. The taiko, along with smaller accompanying drums, will be played by University of Utah band members ... At the conclusion of the taiko performance, the ROTC-operated cannon will sound four times to signify the start of the fourth quarter.
TWO MINUTE DRILL
Utah returns 18 starters and 55 lettermen from last year's 8-5 Sun Bowl champion team. See sidebar on page 2 for a complete list of returning starters ... Kyle Whittingham
is 66-25 entering his eighth season as Utah's head coach ... Quarterback Jordan Wynn
was granted an additional year from the NCAA after a season-ending shoulder injury in the fourth game of 2011. Wynn, a junior, is projected to start for his fourth season ... Senior defensive tackle and All-America candidate Star Lotulelei
is viewed by many as the top interior defensive lineman in the country and has made four preseason watch lists (see sidebar on page 3 for a complete list of Utah's watch list candidates) ... Senior John White
is coming off the best season ever by a Ute running back (1,519 yards) and is the top returning rusher in the Pac-12 (116.8 ypg) ... Brian Johnson
was promoted to offensive coordinator in the offseason. At age 25, Johnson is the youngest coordinator in the country ... The only position without a starter returning is at offensive tackle where Utah must replace all-conference players Tony Bergstrom
(first team) and John Cullen
Utah was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South in the annual preseason media poll #utes ... All 3 practices in week 1 will consist of 24 periods and will run for 2 hours each #utes ... The Utes will carry 105 players on their fall camp roster. More will be added when school starts #utes ... For the 10th year, the practices will be divided between Ute Baseball Field on Guardsman Way and Rice-Eccles Stadium #utes.
Utah finished 8-5 overall and 4-5 in its first year in the Pac-12 Conference, tying for third in the South Division. Utah finished the season by winning five of its last six games, including four-straight Pac-12 wins. The Utes, who were in the running for a berth in the first Pac-12 Championship game until the last week of the season, earned the league's first bowl win, beating Georgia Tech 30-27 in overtime in the Sun Bowl. Earning first-team all-Pac-12 honors were offensive tackle Tony Bergstrom
, defensive tackle Star Lotulelei
and defensive end Derrick Shelby
. Lotulelei won the Morris Award as the league's top defensive lineman. Making second-team all-conference were offensive tackle John Cullen
and running back John White
, the 2008 National Coach of the Year, is 66-25 in seven years as Utah's head coach, winning 72-percent of his games. Whittingham's teams have qualified for a bowl game every year and Utah is one of just three teams to win six bowl games in the last seven years (with Florida and TCU). Overall, Whittingham is 7-1 in bowl games, including a win as co-head coach of Utah's 2005 Fiesta Bowl team. Utah's win over No. 4 Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl improved his BCS bowl record to 2-0. Whittingham has averaged nine victories a year since his appointment as head coach in 2005 and he has half of the 10-win seasons in the school's 118-year football history. Utah won 10 or more games from 2008-10, while finishing in the Top 25 all three seasons. His 2008 team set the school win mark (13-0) and earned a berth in the Sugar Bowl, where Utah routed an Alabama team that had spent five weeks at No.1. The Utes finished with a No. 2 national ranking that season and Whittingham was recognized as the National Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards committee. Last year, Whittingham guided Utah to a third-place tie in the Pac-12 South Division. The Utes won four-straight league games down the stretch and were in contention for a berth in the Pac-12 Championship game until the last week of the regular season. They finished with an 8-5 record (4-5 Pac-12) and beat Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. Whittingham's overall mark against Pac-12 schools is 8-8. For more on Whittingham, see sidebar on page 2.
PAC-12 PRESEASON POLL
Utah was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South Division in a preseason poll of media members who cover the league. USC was the favorite to win both the South Division and the 2012 Pac-12 Conference football title. Utah received 514 points and one first-place vote, while USC gathered 729 points and 117 first-place votes. Oregon was picked to win the North Division with 732 points and 117 first-place votes, while Stanford (533 points, 5 first-place votes) was pegged second in the North.