Coach McBride and the
Utes continue preparation
for the 1999 season.
March 24, 1999
UTAH'S STRENGTHS AND UNKNOWNS
Strengths: Line, Running Backs
Question Marks: The wide receiver position must replace two all-league players. Quarterback is a question only if Darnell Arceneaux is not healthy.
As has become the norm at Utah under Head Coach Ron McBride, the offensive line should control the line of scrimmage in 1999. It is experienced and talented, with starters returning at both tackle and both guard positions. Back for his senior year is second-team all-league right tackle Josh Cochran (6-5, 307). Right guard Sam White (6-3, 280, Jr.) also made the all-Western Athletic Conference second-team last year. They are joined by returning starters Doug Kaufusi (6-7, 300, So.) at left tackle and Luis Park (6-2, 300, Sr.) at left guard. With honorable mention all-WAC tight end Andy Kassotis back (6-3, 273, Sr.), Utah needs to replace just one starter on the line. And, while four-year starter Darren Walker will be tough to replace at center, junior Steve McKane has two years of backup experience and even started two games as a freshman.
The line will block for three of the best runners around. Mike Anderson, the WACs leading rusher (106.6 ypg) in his first year of NCAA ball in 1998, will be a favorite for preseason Mountain West Conference (MWC) Offensive Player of the Year honors. Anderson (6-2, 220, Sr.) rushed for 1,173 yards and ranked 20th in the nation in rushing yards per game. When Anderson takes a breather, the yards will keep piling up. Senior Omar Bacon (6-1, 208) finished 13th in the WAC in 1998 and rushed for 718 yards. Another big weapon for the Utes is junior quarterback Darnell Arceneaux (6-1, 187, Jr.). Arceneaux, a game-breaking runner whose sophomore season ended prematurely with shoulder surgery, should be fully recovered by the start of the 1999 campaign.
The passing game has as many questions as the running game has answers. Arceneaux is 6-0 as a starter, including four wins last year, and is an accurate passer and a great leader. But his fearless style of play makes him injury prone. Utah recruited with that in mind, bringing in junior college transfer Tony Alvarez (5-11, 180, Jr.) to supplement its freshman class, which is headed by redshirt Joel Gines. Just who will catch the passes raises a question, what with the graduation of all-WAC receivers Daniel Jones and Jerome Anderson. Utah has been here before, though, and receivers coach Fred Graves always produces a new set of stars. This year should be no different, with three of the years big recruiting finds coming from the juco wide receiver ranks: Dennis Smith (6-3, 215), Johnny Lundy (6-1, 190) and Stevonne Smith (6-0, 180). Watch too for speedy sophomore Clifford Russell (4.37 40) and redshirt freshman Wayman Westbrooks to contribute. The known commodity on the receiving end is at slot back, where talented seniors Donny Utu and Boo Bendinger are gearing up for a battle. They split starting duties last year.
Strengths: Defensive Backs, Linebackers
Question Marks: Only one starter returns on the defensive line.
Utah returns four starters in its defensive backfield, so experience alone should make it a strength. The corners, where three starters return, look especially solid. Senior Teneil Ethridge started all 11 games (10 at right corner) last year, while Andre Dyson and Jay Hill traded off at left corner. Hill also played nickel back at times. The safety position is a lesser known entity despite veteran personnel. Honorable mention all-WAC free safety Kimball Christianson, a two-year starter, will take a shot at strong safety as a junior. Hell have to fill the first-team all-WAC shoes of graduated starter Robert Love. Christiansons likely replacement at free safety is Patrick Dyson. The fleet footed junior found a home in the defensive backfield late last seasonsubbing in when Utah used its dime packageafter coming to Utah as a running back/wide receiver.
Linebacker should prove another Ute forte, thanks mostly to junior Kautai Olevao (6-2, 240, Jr.). First-team all-WAC in 1998, Olevao has All-America potential. Hell play rover for a second year, backed up by junior Howard Christianson, who played as a freshman before missing last year with an injury. Middle linebacker boasts two players with starting experiencesenior Taulia Lave (6-1, 255) and junior Wes Tufaga (6-0, 216). Only the strong side is suspect, where a pair of redshirt freshmenSheldon Deckart and Dylan Bird are projected to compete with juco transfer Matt Ward.
The defensive line lost some heavy hitters, but the best of them is back. First-team all-WAC end John Frank (6-5, 271, Sr.) should be the dominant player at his position in the new MWC and one of the best in the nation. At the other three positions, only junior Maake Kemoeatu (6-5, 276), who impressed as a first-year player last fall, has much in the way of Division I playing credentials. Kemoeatu will replace all-WAC nose guard Pene Talamaivao. Junior Ed Taamu (6-2, 280) will slide from end to tackle and a pair of juniors have the early edge at left end in Andy Bowers (6-5, 262) and Ed Johnson (6-5, 270).
Strengths: Punting, kick returns
Question Marks: Field goals, PATs
The strength of the kicking game lies in the punter, where senior Chris Hunter was second-team all-WAC in 1997 and honorable mention all-WAC a year ago. Hunter, who will start for a third straight year, averaged 41.4 yards per punt in 1998. He owns two of the longest punts in school history (80 and 75 yards) and four times last year placed a punt inside the 3-yard line. The concern is the field goal/PAT kicker, where starters Ryan Kaneshiro (1998) and Cletus Truhe (1997) are back, but have been inconsistent. Golden Whetman, a sophomore who has been on campus since fall of 1998, could be the answer if he gets eligible.
On the receiving end of the kicks, Utah should fare well despite losing top returner Daniel Jones. Utah led the nation in kickoff returns last year and Patrick Dyson, now a sophomore, returned eight kicks for 362 yards and 1 TD. He averaged 32.9 yards per return. Either he or his brother Andre will likely handle the punt returns, following in the footsteps of their older brother Kevin, who now plays for the Tennessee Titans of the NFL. Another contender may be speedy juco transfer Stevonne Smith.
1998 UTAH RESULTS (7-4, WAC: 5-3, 3rd-tie) Date Opponent Atten. Score Result 9-5 at Utah State 30,218 20-12 W (1-0) 9-12 Louisville 44,112 45-22 W (2-0) 9-19 Hawai'i 37,699 30-21 W (3-0) 9-26 Boise State 36,037 28-31 L (3-1) 10-3 at Wyoming 16,349 24-27 L (3-2) 10-17 Fresno State 33,065 24-16 W (4-2) 10-24 at San Diego State 28,807 20-21 L (4-3) 10-31 at San Jose State 12,279 49-17 W (5-3) 11-7 UTEP 37,812 34-27 W (6-3) 11-14 at New Mexico 22,281 41- 7 W (7-3) 11-21 Brigham Young 45,634 24-26 L (7-4)
Attendance: Home Attendance Average: 39,060 Away Attendance Average: 21,987 Total Attendance Average: 31,299
1998 WAC STANDINGS
PACIFIC DIVISION Pl. Team WAC Overall 1. Brigham Young 7-1 9-5 San Diego State 7-1 7-5 3. Utah 5-3 7-4 Fresno State 5-3 5-6 5. San Jose State 3-5 4-8 UTEP 3-5 3-8 7. New Mexico 1-7 3-9 8. Hawai'i 0-8 0-12
IMPORTANT FALL CAMP DATES August 10 Newcomers Report August 10 Newcomers Practice August 12 Veterans Report August 13 Practice Begins August 13 Two-a-Days Begin August 17 First Day with Pads
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH FACTS
Location: Salt Lake City (84112)
Metro Population: 1,475,000
President: Dr. J. Bernard Machen
Governing Body: Board of Trustees/Board of Regents
Started Football: 1892
Colors: Crimson and White
Mascot: Swoop (red-tailed hawk)
Stadium: Rice-Eccles (45,634)
Surface: Grass (SportGrass)
Practice Facility: McCarthey Practice Fields/Bubble
Conference: Mountain West Conference
Affiliation: NCAA Division I
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS (AREA CODE 801)
Football Office: 581-7684
Stadium Press Box: 581-8210/9753
Sports Information: 581-3511/3510
Ticket Office: 581-8849
Athletic Department: 581-8171
SID Fax: 581-4358
Football Fax: 581-3808
UTE FOOTBALL COACHES
Head Coach: Ron McBride (San Jose State, 1964)
Record at Utah: 62-43 (9 years)
Career Record: 62-43 (9 years)
Asst. Head Coach/Receivers: Fred Graves (Utah, 1971)
Defensive Coordinator/Safeties: Kyle Whittingham (Brigham Young, 1984)
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Tommy Lee (Willamette, 1963)
Running Backs/Special Teams: Sean McNabb (UC-Riverside, 1972)
Offensive Line: Don Eck (Utah, 1983)
Cornerbacks: Jugi Hogue (San Jose State, 1973)
Linebackers: Fred Whittingham (Cal Poly-SLO, 1963)
Defensive Ends: Steve Kaufusi (Brigham Young, 1994)
Defensive Tackles: Gary Andersen (Utah, 1986)
SPORTS INFORMATION PERSONNEL Sports Information Director (football): Liz Abel Office: 581-3511 Home: 596-1650 Director of Media Relations: Bruce Woodbury Office: 581-3510 Home: 295-3594 Assistant SID: Mike Lageschulte Office: 581-3771 Home: 461-4530 Secretary: Michele Graves Office: 581-3511/3510
Mountain West Conference
Teams: Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego State, Utah and Wyoming
Date MWC was announced: May 26, 1998 (by the school presidents)
Date MWC commences operation: July 1, 1999
Commissioner: Craig Thompson
Sports Information Director: Amy Turner
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 35670
Colorado Springs, Colo. 80935-3567
1998 Record: 7-4
WAC Record: 5-3
WAC Mountain Division Finish: 3rd (tie)
Lettermen Returning (45):
Offense 21, Defense 21, Kickers 3
Lettermen Lost (20):
Offense 9, Defense 11, Kickers 0
OFFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING (8) Mike Anderson, RB (6-2, 220, Sr.); Darnell Arceneaux*, QB (6-1, 187, Jr.); Josh Cochran, OL (6-5, 307, Sr.); Andy Kassotis, TE (6-3, 273, Sr.); Doug Kaufusi, OL (6-7, 300, So.); Luis Park, OL (6-2, 300, Sr.); Donny Utu, WR (6-1, 196, Sr.); Sam White, OL (6-3, 280, Jr.).
DEFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING (6) Kimball Christianson, DB (6-3, 209, Jr.); Andre Dyson, DB (5-10, 184, Jr.); Teneil Ethridge, DB (5-10, 188, Sr.); John Frank, DE (6-5, 271, Sr.); Jay Hill, DB (6-1, 186, Sr.); Kautai Olevao, LB (6-2, 240, Jr.).
kicking game STARTERS RETURNING (2) Chris Hunter, P (6-4, 232, Sr.); Ryan Kaneshiro, K (5-6, 172, So.). *split starting duties
LETTERMEN RETURNING (45) Offense (21): Mike Anderson, RB; Darnell Arceneaux, QB; Omar Bacon, RB; Boo Bendinger, WR; Stewart Carvalho, RB; Chris Christensen, WR; Josh Cochran, OL; Tony Dickamore, TE; Thomas Fortune, RB; Andy Kassotis, TE; Doug Kaufusi, OL; Steve McKane, OL; Fisi Moleni, OL; Nick Morgan, RB; Matt Nickel, TE; Luis Park, OL; Scott Price, TE; Michael Richardson, OL; Clifford Russell, WR; Donny Utu, WR; Sam White, OL.
Defense (21): Brian Bachhuber, DE; Andy Bowers, DE; Brad Burnett, DB; Howard Christianson, LB (1997); Kimball Christianson, DB; Andre Dyson, DB; Patrick Dyson, DB; Teneil Ethridge, DB; John Frank, DE; Jay Hill, DB; Maake Kemoeatu, DL; Colby Knight, DB; Sitivi Laulu, DB/LB; Taulia Lave, LB; Kautai Olevao, LB; Chuck Pine, DL; Jason Potter, DB; Richard Seals, DT; Ed Taamu, DL; Rod Talaeai, DL; Wes Tufaga, LB. Kickers (3): Chris Hunter, P; Ryan Kaneshiro, K; Cletus Truhe, K.
Mike Anderson, RB
Kautai Olevao, LB
John Frank, DL
All-Mountain West Candidates
Sam White, OL
Chris Hunter, P
Omar Bacon, RB
Doug Kaufusi, OL
Darnell Arceneaux, QB
Josh Cochran, OL
Teneil Ethridge, DB
Kimball Christianson, DB
NEWCOMERS (35) Ben Allison, TE; Tony Alvarez, QB; Anthony Arceneaux, WR; Mitch Arquette, OT; Edwin Benton, RB; Noah Campbell, RB; Michael Culpepper, RB/DB; Andre Cyrus, WR; Maurice Gaines, DB; Clifton Gatlin, RB; Jordan Gross, OL; Justin Hamblin, K; Mark Hatfield, LB; Timmy Hemminger, OL; Tony Hendricks, LB; Al Johnson, LB; Marcus Jones, LB; Siuaki Livai, OL; Johnny Lundy, WR; Jason Mitchell, DB; Jay Ossai, LB; Arnold Parker, LB; Lewis Powell, DL; Willie Sao, TE; Josh Savage, DL; Dennis Smith, WR; Stevonne Smith, WR; Sean Souza, OL; Joe Tautuaa, OL; James Tupola, OL; Tavo Tupola, DB; Justin Walterscheid, WR; Matt Ward, LB; John Watson, OL; Anthony White, DB.
REDSHIRTS (18) Dylan Bird, LB; Brad Burtenshaw, WR; Howard Christianson, LB; DShaun Crockett, RB; Desmond David, DB; Sheldon Deckart, LB; Mike Fuller, DL; Joel Gines, QB; Ed Johnson, DL; Airabin Justin, DB; Joe McCullum, OL; Tevita Pela, DL; Jeff Ray, DB; Garrett Smith, DL; Dustin Thome, QB; Tevita Vakalahi, DL; Philippe Wells, WR; Wayman Westbrooks, WR.
MISSIONARIES RETURNING (4) Justyn Boudreau, DL; Dustin McQuivey, OL; Lance Rice, QB; Shawn Tidwell, DL.
ALL-CONFERENCE UTES RETURNING
Mike Anderson, RB
John Frank, DL
Kautai Olevao, LB
Josh Cochran, OL
Sam White, OL
Kimball Christianson, DB
Andy Kassotis, TE
Chris Hunter, P
*Western Athletic Conference Pacific Division.
OFFENSIVE STARTERS LOST (4) Jerome Anderson, WR (5-11, 178); Jonathan Crosswhite*, QB (6-2, 210); Daniel Jones, WR (5-11, 182); Darren Walker, OL (6-3, 295). *started part-time
DEFENSIVE STARTERS LOST (7) Phil Glover*, LB (6-0. 237); Jason Hooks, LB (6-3, 262); Robert Love, DB (5-9, 203); Dicky Purcell, DE (6-1, 238); Cyrus Satoafaiga*, LB (6-0, 251); Pene Talamaivao, NG (6-4, 313); Mike Thomas, DT (6-1, 303). *started part-time
kicking game STARTERs LOST (0)
LETTERMEN LOST (20) Offense (9): Roy Allen, RB; Jerome Anderson, WR; Jonathan Crosswhite, QB; Devin Grant, OL; Todd Jackson, OL; C.J. Johnson, TE; Daniel Jones, WR; Hema Katoa, OL; Darren Walker, OL. Defense (11): Jamal Allen, DB; Phil Glover, LB; Jason Hooks, LB; Robert Love, DB; Everestt Matagi, DE; Marc Merritt, DB; Dicky Purcell, LB; David Richards, DB; Cyrus Satoafaiga, LB; Pene Talamaivao, NT; Mike Thomas, DT. Kickers: 0