March 14, 2012
Camp Notes Week 1
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SALT LAKE CITY
SPRING CAMP OPENS
Utah's 2012 spring football camp opens on Tuesday, Mar. 20, kicking off a series of 15 practices. Outdoor practices this spring will be open to the public. Practices held inside due to weather will be closed to the public for safety reasons. All practices are scheduled for Rice-Eccles Stadium unless weather dictates they move into the Spence Eccles Field House. Camp will conclude with the ninth-annual Red-White game on April 21.
OPENING WEEK SCHEDULE
Tuesday, Mar. 20 No pads 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Thursday, Mar. 22 No pads 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Friday, Mar. 23 Pro Day Closed to Public
Saturday, Mar. 24 Tackle 10 a.m.-noon
The Utes will hold scrimmages on Saturday, April 7 (10 a.m.) and Saturday, April 14 (10 a.m.). The Red-White spring game is Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m.
* Coaches: Brian Johnson
became the youngest offensive coordinator in the country on Feb. 2, two weeks before his 25th birthday. Utah's 2009 Sugar Bowl MVP will also coach the quarterbacks for his third season. Promoted with Johnson were defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake
to assistant head coach and receivers coach Aaron Roderick
to passing game coordinator. Three new assistants came on board in the offseason: Dan Finn
, offensive line; Ilaisa Tuiaki
, fullbacks and tight ends; and Sharrieff Shah
, cornerbacks. With Shah's hire, Jay Hill
will now coach the running backs as well as serving as special teams coordinator.
* Player Positions: Returners trying out new positions in the spring include Westlee Tonga, defensive end from tight end; Keith McGill, corner from safety; Thretton Palamo, defensive end from running back; and Joape Pela, defensive tackle from offensive line.
* Football Facility: Work has begun on Utah's new $30 million football facility, which is scheduled to open in time for the 2013 season. The demolition of the existing Dee Glen Smith Center is tentatively scheduled for Mar. 27. The football coaches' offices and all football operations have moved into temporary quarters adjacent to the construction site. The Utes will also gain new practice fields when the project is completed and will practice in Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Spence Eccles Field House until then.
* Crazy Lady: "Crazy Lady" will now perform during halftime, right before the Utes run out of the locker room. The change was made to generate excitement in the stands for start of the second half.
* Camp Calendar: Due to the timing of Utah's spring break this year (Mar. 12-18), camp will run continuously rather than being split into two sessions.
The Utes will run a multiple offense and a 4-3 defense ... 18 starters (9 offense, 7 defense, 2 kickers) and 58 lettermen return ... All-America candidates are senior defensive tackle Star Lotulelei
and senior running back John White
... The Utes open their season on Thursday, Aug. 30 against Northern Colorado. The first Pac-12 home opponent is USC on Thursday, Oct. 4 ... Missing spring ball following offseason surgery will be tight ends Kendrick Moeai
(shoulder) and Dallin Rogers
(knee), and defensive tackle LT Tuipulotu
(knee) ... New signees who are enrolled in classes and here for the start of spring camp are junior running back Kelvin York
, freshman quarterbacks Chase Hansen
and Travis Wilson
and freshman defensive end Hunter Dimick
THREE TO WATCH
* Running Back John White
: As a junior college transfer a year ago, he broke a 29-year-old school single-season record by rushing for 1,519 yards. He led the league and ranked third in the nation with 316 carries and was second in the Pac-12 and 11th in the nation in rushing (116.8 yards per game). His honors included second-team all-Pac-12, honorable mention SI.com All-American and Sun Bowl MVP.
* Defensive Tackle Star Lotulelei: Possibly the best defensive tackle in the entire nation, Lotulelei was first-team all-Pac-12 a year ago, won the Morris Award as the league's best defensive lineman and was the Most Valuable Lineman of the Sun Bowl.
* Quarterback Jordan Wynn: While he will start for his fourth season, he is just a junior in eligibility after regaining a season due to injury. The Poinsettia Bowl MVP as a true freshman in 2009, Wynn already ranks ninth in school history in career passing yards (4,390) and his 31 career touchdown passes is tied for sixth.
REVIEWING LAST SEASON
In their first season in the Pac-12 Conference, the Utes went 8-5 and beat Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. Utah came within a game of making the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game by winning four-straight league games before losing the regular season finale. Three Utes earned first-team all-Pac-12 honors: senior offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom
, senior defensive lineman Derrick Shelby
and junior defensive lineman Star Lotulelei
. Lotulelei won the Morris Award as the Pac-12's top defensive lineman as voted on by the league's offensive linemen. Making the all-Pac-12 second team were junior running back John White
and senior offensive lineman John Cullen
. Safety Eric Rowe
made four freshman All-America teams.
COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAMz
, 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 since 2005 and Utah is one of just three teams to win six bowl games during that time (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 already 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, going 13-0 and earning 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.