Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Utah Football Camp Begins on Aug. 5

Sophomore Travis Wilson enters his sophomore season as the clear-cut favorite to retain his starting job at quarterback.

Sophomore Travis Wilson enters his sophomore season as the clear-cut favorite to retain his starting job at quarterback.

Aug. 2, 2013

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The Utah football team kicks off its annual preseason camp on Monday, Aug. 5 with the first of 25 practices prior to the start of classes. The first five days of practice are without pads, per the NCAA-mandated "acclimatization" period. Camp concludes on Aug. 24 with a final practice and the annual Fan Fest. Practices and scrimmages are closed to the public.


Freshman defensive tackle Gaius "Keio" Vaenuku died in a tragic car accident in Albuquerque, N.M., on July 30. Vaenuku planned to report to the U. on Aug. 4 in preparation for the start of fall camp on Aug. 5. Another incoming Utah freshman, offensive tackle Salesi Uhatafe, was also a passenger in the car and survived, although it is unknown when he will be able to join the team. The two were high school teammates at Texas' Trinity High School. Vaenuku was the 2012 District 6-5A Defensive Player of the Year in Texas as a senior. He was also named first-team all-district and to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Super Team first-team defense. Uhatafe was also a 2012 first-team 6-5A all-district selection and was named to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Super Team first-team offense. His stepbrother Polo Manukainiu (a redshirt freshman at Texas A&M) and brother Lolo Uhatafe, also lost their lives in the accident. His father, Salesi, Sr., survived.


The fall camp roster is capped at 105 players. The roster will likely expand to around 118 players once school starts ... 2013 signees who did not meet academic requirements and will not join the team this fall are Devontae Booker and X'avier Shepherd ... Sophomore Travis Wilson enters his sophomore season as the clear-cut favorite to retain his starting job at quarterback ... The linebacker position underwent a shakeup in the offseason with Trevor Reilly and Jason Whittingham moving to defensive end and strong safety Brian Blechen switching to linebacker ... Blechen will start for a fourth season--the only four-year starter on this year's roster ... Eric Rowe, who has started and played in 23 games at free safety (missed two games with injury) in his first two seasons, could potentially move to strong safety if JC transfer Tevin Carter plays well enough to start at free safety ... True freshmen already on the depth chart are cornerback Hipolito Corporan, linebacker Uaea Masina, quarterback Brandon Cox and snapper Chase Dominguez. Dominguez is projected to replace four-year starting snapper Patrick Greene.


Dennis Erickson, who compiled a 179-96-1 record in 23 seasons as a head college coach and won two national championships at Miami, is Utah's new co-offensive coordinator (with Brian Johnson) and running backs coach. Erickson previously coached at three Pac-12 schools--Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona State--winning conference Coach of the Year honors at all of them. Second-year Ute assistant Ilaisa Tuiaki, who coached the tight ends and fullbacks in 2012, now has the defensive line. Ninth-year special teams coordinator Jay Hill is coaching the tight ends as well after managing the running backs last year. The team's operations have moved into a new $32 million, 149,000-square foot football center (square footage includes the 19,000-square foot Alex Smith Strength & Conditioning Center).


Utah was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 Conference South Division in a preseason poll of media members who cover the league ... Utah returns just 13 starters from a year ago (6 offense, 6 defense, 1 punter). The biggest holes to fill are at corner, where no starters and virtually no Division I experience returns, and special teams, where Utah must replace its starting kicker and All-America kick returner Reggie Dunn ... Kyle Whittingham is 71-32 overall entering his ninth season and 7-11 in Pac-12 games in two seasons as Utah's head coach ... Utah is the only school in the country with two National Coach of the Year recipients on its staff: Whittingham in 2008 and Dennis Erickson in 2000 ... Utah is touting sophomore offensive tackle Jeremiah Poutasi (6-5, 345) for All-America honors ... Tight end Jake Murphy has been named to the John Mackey Watch List and Trevor Reilly to the Butkus Award Watch List.


As part of a Student-Athlete Health Initiative, the Pac-12 Conference and its football coaches have agreed to a new contact policy that goes beyond the limitations currently imposed by the NCAA. In the case of preseason camp, on days when Pac-12 institutions schedule a two-a-day practice, full-contact is now allowed in only one practice (the other practice is limited to helmets and shoulder pads). If full-contact practices are scheduled consecutively around one of the two-a-day, full-contact practices, only one of those practices shall be more than 50% full-contact. By way of example, if a morning session of a two-a-day practice is full-contact, the preceding one-a-day practice would be limited to no more than 50% full-contact. The Pac-12 defines "full contact" as any live tackling, live tackling drills, scrimmages or other activities where players are generally taken to the ground. "Full contact" does not include "thud" sessions or drills that involve "wrapping up," where players are not taken to the ground and contact is not aggressive in nature.


Utah's first-ever "Stripe the Stadium" promotion will be unveiled for the season-opener against Utah State on Thursday, Aug. 29. Fans will be asked to wear red or white attire, depending on where their seats are located in the stadium. Color codes are listed below and can also be found on an interactive map found at http://utahutes.cstv.com/tickets/stripe-the-stadium.html.

Red Sections: S3, S5, W9, W11, W13, W15, W17, W18, N21, N23, N26, N28, N29, E32, E34, E36; Student E38-E42; Tower 401-404, 405-408, C1, C5, 501-506, 512-517. White Sections: S2, S4, W8, W10, W12, W14, W16, N19, N20, N22, N24, N25, N27, E30, E31, E33, E35, E37; Tower C2, C3, C4, 507-511.



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