Aug. 5, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader
Urban Meyer is preparing to conduct his second fall camp as the head coach at Utah. Camp will start on Monday, Aug. 9 ... Practices are closed to the public (open to the media) ... For the second year, the Ute football team will hold its preseason camp on Ute Baseball Field, located on the east side of Guardsman Way ... Utah will hold 19 total practices between August 9-24 with an NCAA-mandated five-day acclimation period at the start ...Classes begin on August 25.
UTES MAKE PRESEASON TOP 25
For the first time in school history, Utah is ranked in the preseason top 25 by one of the two major polls. In the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll released on July 30, Utah was ranked No. 21--the same position it held at the end of the 2003 season in both the Coaches and Associated Press polls. The Utes received 438 points in the 2004 ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll. Utah's only previous preseason ranking was back in 1994, when Sports Illustrated ranked the Utes No. 20. The 1994 Utes finished the season ranked No. 8 by the coaches and No. 10 by the A.P.--the best final rankings ever for the school.
AND MORE PRESEASON HYPE
Unlike a year ago when Utah entered the season picked to finish fifth in the Mountain West Conference, the Utes are now the preseason favorite to defend their 2003 MWC Championship. Nationally, Utah is not only ranked No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll, but has made several other listings. The Utes were ranked No. 11 by Phil Steele, No. 14 by ESPN.com, No. 16 by Athlon, No. 20 by Lindy's and No. 21 by The Sporting News. Dopke.com, in its College Sports Report, picks the Utes No. 24.
At least one walk-on representing the student body will be selected as the first "Utah Man" sometime during the preseason camp. The Utah Man will practice and train with the team and will play for the kickoff coverage team in games ... 105 players will participate in fall camp, with the roster expected to expand to around 120 (including new walk-ons) once school starts ... 34 lettermen and 17 full or part-time starters return for the Utes. The eight starters back on offense are: Makai Aalona, OL; Jesse Boone, OL; Chris Kemoeatu, OL; Travis LaTendresse, WR; Steve Savoy, WR; Alex Smith, QB; Tavo Tupola, OL and Paris Warren, WR. Seven starters return for the defense: Corey Dodds, LB; Steve Fifita, DT; Marquess Ledbetter, DE; Sione Pouha, DT; Morgan Scalley, DB; Spencer Toone, LB and Eric Weddle, DB. The kicking game is intact with the return of starting kicker Bryan Borreson and punter Matt Kovacevich ... 25 new scholarship athletes will join the team and 23 redshirts from 2003 will get their first opportunity at playing time.
(The practice times for the first week of fall camp can be found later in this release). The players will report to preseason camp on Sunday, Aug. 8. The NCAA-required five-day acclimation period begins on Aug. 9, which is also the first day of practice. Double day practices will start on Saturday, Aug. 14. Per NCAA rules, double day practices may be held only every other day. The team will not practice on Sundays. The Ute coaches will be on the field for two practices on Aug. 9, 10 and 11, overseeing a split team. On Aug. 9, the newcomers will practice in the morning and the returners in the afternoon. On Aug. 10-11, the "ones and threes" will be grouped in a morning practice session and the "twos and fours" in the afternoon session. The two groups will combine for practice starting on Aug. 12. Classes at the U. begin on Aug. 25 and Utah's first game is Thursday, Sept. 2 vs. Texas A&M.
TRANSFER OF POWER
Four players transferred to Utah from NCAA Division I-A institutions in the off-season, but only two will be eligible to play in games this season. Junior running back Darryl Poston, who played for USC in 2001-02, will be immediately eligible to play since he sat out all of last season. Also eligible to play this fall is sophomore defensive back Steve Tate, who played in 10 games for Utah State in 2001 before going on an LDS church mission. Quarterback Mike Affleck redshirted as a freshman at Arizona State last year. He and defensive lineman Kelly Talavou, an Idaho transfer who joined the Utes in January, can practice but not play in games this year. Affleck, an Orem, Utah, native (Timpview HS), will lose a year of playing eligibility and will be a sophomore in the fall 2005.
Second-year Ute head coach Urban Meyer is coming off the best debut head coaching season ever at Utah. He led the 2003 Utes to their first outright conference championship since 1957 and was named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year and The Sporting News' National Coach of the Year. Meyer also received the prestigious Victor Award as the nation's top college coach. Utah's 10 wins in 2003 tied the school record and Meyer became the first head coach in Utah history to be invited to (and win) a bowl game in his first year at the school. Utah's 10-2 record included a 6-1 mark against conference schools and a 2-0 sweep of the Pac-10 (California and Oregon).
Utes Chris Kemoeatu, Morgan Scalley and Alex Smith have been nominated to preseason "watch lists." Kemoeatu, a senior offensive lineman, made the Outland Trophy Watch List. The Outland Trophy is presented annually to the top interior lineman in college football on either side of the ball. Former Utah offensive tackle Jordan Gross was a 2002 Outland Trophy finalist and the first offensive lineman taken in the 2003 NFL draft. Gross, picked No. 8 by Carolina, started for the Panthers in the 2004 Super Bowl. Senior free safety Scalley was selected to the Bronko Nagurski Watch List, which is a compilation of the best defensive players in college football regardless of position. Junior quarterback Smith made the cut for the Davey O'Brien Watch List. The Davey O'Brien award goes to the nation's top collegiate quarterback.
PRESEASON ALL-MWC UTES
Six Utes were named to the preseason all-conference team--the most players from any school. The Utes honored were senior wide receiver Paris Warren, senior offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu, junior quarterback Alex Smith, junior defensive tackle Steve Fifita, senior defensive back Morgan Scalley and senior returner Bo Nagahi. Smith was one of seven unanimous picks. Warren is Utah's only returning first-team selection. Smith, Scalley and Nagahi were all second-team picks.
UTAH WINS PRESEASON NOD
Utah football 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 Las Vegas, July 21-22. The Utes claimed 15 of 16 first-place votes and 127 points. Last year, the Utes were picked to finish fifth in the preseason media poll
The fifth-annual Ute Fan Fest, sponsored by the Deseret Morning News, has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Fan Fest is an interactive event in which all of Utah's 19 varsity athletics teams and coaches participate.