July 31, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY -
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Third-year head coach Kyle Whittingham
and his staff will open the 2007 Utah fall football camp with the NCAA-allotted number of 105 players ... The initial 105 includes 44 lettermen, 20 new scholarship recruits and two returned missionaries ... Camp will run from August 4-18 and will feature three scrimmages ... Practices and scrimmages are closed to the public ... Media/Photo day is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 8 in the Smith Athletics Center, with a press conference starting at 3 p.m. ... Two-a-day practices begin on Aug. 13.
Utah will utilize as many as four venues for its practices and scrimmages. The first choices for practices are the McCarthey Practice Fields (single sessions) and Ute Baseball Field (double days). Inclement weather could move the practices to either Rice-Eccles Stadium or the Spence Eccles Field House. The three preseason scrimmages are scheduled for Rice-Eccles Stadium on Aug. 10, 14 and 18, from 8:45-10:45 a.m.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
The Ute coaches will divide the team into two practice groups for two of the first three days of camp. With some exceptions, the starters and third string (ones and threes) will take the early practice on Aug. 4 and 6, and the twos and fours will take the second shift.
INSIDE THE HUDDLE
Four Utes were named to the preseason all-Mountain West Conference team in the annual media poll: quarterback Brian Johnson
, offensive linemen Jason Boone
and Robert Conley
, and place kicker Louie Sakoda
. Sakoda, also Utah's starting punter, was named the preseason Special Teams Player of the Year ... A total of 96 players participated in voluntary summer workouts, including 10 incoming freshmen: Jereme Brooks
, Brandon Burton
, Louis Finner, Jamel King
, Corbin Louks
, Dallin Rogers
, Derrick Shelby
, Lei Talamaivao
, Justin Taplin-Ross
and Eddie Wide
. Three new junior college transfers also participated: Matt Asiata
, Josh Broughton
and Robert Johnson
... Utes making early Watch Lists for national honors are Brian Johnson
(Maxwell Award for the top collegiate quarterback), Conley (Outland Trophy for the best interior lineman), Kyle Gunther
(Rimington Trophy for the top center) and safety Steve Tate
(Bronko Nagurski for the best defensive player).
Utah returns 10 of 11 starters on offense (counting 2005 starting quarterback Brian Johnson
, who redshirted last season while recovering from knee surgery), while five players return for the defense ... The special teams return virtually intact, led by kicker/punter Louie Sakoda
, the MWC co-Special Teams Player of the Year as a sophomore last year. All of Utah's top kickoff and punt returners are back, as is snapper Clint Mower
... A total of 44 letermen return (21 offense, 20 defense, 3 specialists) ... 2006 all-conference returnees include second-teamers Brent Casteel
, WR; Johnson, QB (2005); and Joe Jiannoni
, LB ... Utah had one coaching change during the offseason. Aaron Alford
is Utah's new cornerbacks coach, filling an opening left by the departure of tight ends coach Jay Boulware
. Jay Hill
moves from the corners to the tight ends and also takes over as Utah's special teams coordinator, after serving in a co-coordinator role for the past two years.
NEWS AND NOTES
ESPN.com has tabbed the University of Utah football program as the 28th best in the nation over the last decade. ESPN picked Utah ahead of perennial powers Texas A&M (No. 29), Arkansas (30) and Alabama (34). The Utes also rated better than conference rivals Brigham Young (44) and Colorado State (48), and regional foes California (35), Oregon State (37), Fresno State (38), Arizona State (41), Washington State (45) and Colorado (49) ... Utah will make five national television appearances this year, including a CSTV/VERSUS simulcast of the BYU game on Nov. 24 (also televised regionally on The Mtn.). Other national games include UCLA (VERSUS), Louisville (ESPN), TCU (VERSUS) and Wyoming (CSTV). The Oregon State game on FSN Northwest is available nationally as a part of the FOX Sports Satellite Network.