Aug. 16, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
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The Ute football team is in its second week of preseason camp ... The Utes' first day in full pads was on Aug. 13 ... Two-a-day practices started on Aug. 14 and will be conducted every other day for the remainder of the camp, which runs through Aug. 24 ... Two scrimmages will be held in the next two weeks. They, like all practices, are closed to the public but open to the media ... Classes at the U. start on Aug. 25.
UTES RANKED BY COACHES AND A.P.
For the first time in school history, Utah is ranked in the preseason top 25 by both major polls--ESPN/USA Today Coaches and the Associated Press. The Coaches' poll awarded Utah a No. 21 ranking in its preseason poll, issued on July 30. The A.P. poll, released on Aug. 14, ranked the Utes No. 20. Both polls had Utah at No. 21 at the finish of the 2003 season. 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. This fall, SI has the Utes ranked No. 19 in its College Football Preview Issue. Other preseason polls that ranked the Utes follow: No. 11, Phil Steele; No. 14, ESPN.com; No. 16, Athlon; No. 20, Lindy's; No. 21, The Sporting News; No. 24, Dopke.com.
FIVE ON THE DRIVE
Five running backs expect to get playing time this season--among them two returners and three newcomers. Sophomore Mike Liti (5-10, 210) is the starter and senior Marty Johnson (6-0, 225) is the first backup. There is a three-way tie for the third position and the coaches say that all three will play in 2004: junior Quinton Ganther (5-10, 210) is a junior college transfer from Citrus College, freshman Brent Casteel (5-11, 195) played for Antioch High School (Calif.) and junior Darryl Poston (5-10, 195) is a USC transfer.
Three newcomers are battling for the right to back up all-MWC quarterback Alex Smith (6-4, 212, Jr.) this season. Entering the week in a dead heat are junior college transfers Adam Madsen (6-0, 204, Jr.) and Fano Tagovailoa (6-0, 193, Jr.), along with freshman Brian Johnson (6-2, 190).
Utah's defensive two-deep has remained virtually unchanged, with junior Grady Marshall the only new addition. Marshall has worked his way into the No. 2 spot at rover linebacker.
The fifth-annual Ute Fan Fest, sponsored by the Deseret Morning News, will be held on 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. Admission and parking are free to the public. Last year more than 2,000 Ute fans came out to meet their favorite teams at the Fan Fest.