Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Utah Football Opens 2014 Campaign vs. Idaho State

Dominique Hatfield (CB/WR) is slated to be Utah's first two-way player since Eric Weddle in 2006.

Dominique Hatfield (CB/WR) is slated to be Utah's first two-way player since Eric Weddle in 2006.
Aug. 25, 2014

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Quotes from Coach Whittingham's Weekly Press Conference


> Utah (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) hosts Idaho State (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky) in the season opener for both teams on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 5:30 p.m. MDT in Rice-Eccles Stadium. Some bleacher seats and standing room tickets remain and may be purchased at UtahUtes.com, 801-581-UTIX and the Rice-Eccles Stadium box office. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Radio is ESPN700 AM and Sirius 119.

> A row of bleachers has been added in the standing room areas on the east, west and north sections of Rice-Eccles Stadium. Forty ADA seats were also added for a total of 790 new seats, bringing the capacity of Rice-Eccles Stadium to 45,807 (from 45,017). There will still be space for standing room behind the new row of bleachers.

> Thursday's game is the second-annual Stripe the Stadium promotion. Fans are asked to wear red or white, depending on where they sit. More information can be found at http://www.utahutes.com/tickets/stripe-the-stadium-14.html.

> Kyle Whittingham's second game as a member of the Utah football staff was a 66-0 win over Idaho State back in 1994 when he was the defensive line coach. Whittingham came to the U. from ISU, where he was an assistant coach from 1988-93. See `Connections' for more Utah-ISU ties.

> Utah has won its last six season openers (five straight at home) in a streak that started with a 2008 win at Michigan. The Utes are 70-49-1 all-time in season openers and 52-19-1 when the season opener was at home.

> Utah leads the series with ISU 6-0 and is 36-0 against current Big Sky members. See page 2 for complete information on the series.

> The Aug. 28 game is tied for the earliest opener in school history (2003 vs. Utah State).


Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and offensive coordinator Dave Christensen first crossed paths at Idaho State in the early 1990s. Whittingham served on the Bengal staff from 1988-1993, coaching the linebackers and special teams his first three seasons and serving as the defensive coordinator from 1992-93. Christensen coached the ISU running backs and offensive line from 1990-1991. Two former Utes are on the current ISU coaching staff: Spencer Toone (co-defensive coordinator/safeties) and Steve Fifita (defensive line). Toone was an all-Mountain West Conference linebacker for the Utes in 2005 and led the team in tackles in 2004 and 2005. Fifita was an all-conference defensive tackle in 2004 and 2005 and was the defensive MVP of the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.


Kyle Whittingham, who is 76-39 in nine seasons as Utah's head coach, has participated in 161 total Utah victories in 20 years as a head and assistant coach--the most by any football coach in school history. For more on Whittingham, see the sidebar on page 2 ... 16 starters return for the Utes (8 offense, 6 defense, 2 kickers) ... Utah has All-America candidates at both kicking positions in placekicker Andy Phillips and punter Tom Hackett ... Brian Blechen and Eric Rowe will start for their fourth season--Blechen at strong safety and Rowe at corner (after three years at free safety) ... Dominique Hatfield (CB/WR) is slated to be Utah's first two-way player since Eric Weddle in 2006. Weddle, a consensus All-America safety his senior season, also saw frequent action at quarterback and running back. Now an all-pro safety for the San Diego Chargers, Weddle led Utah in interceptions (7) and rushing touchdowns (5), while completing 2-of-4 passes for 43 yards and a touchdown in 2006 ... The Utes will debut one set of their new uniforms on Thursday ... Utah is playing a Big Sky Conference team for the fourth-straight season. The Utes played (and beat) Montana State in 2011, Northern Colorado in 2012 and Weber State in 2013.


Dres Anderson, Junior Salt, Brian Blechen, Nate Orchard and Andy Phillips were elected team captains ... Kaelin Clay (#8) and Marcus Sanders-Williams (#58) are among several players who have new numbers, but the only ones on the depth chart ... Six positions are expected to be manned by first-time starters against ISU: right tackle (J.J. Dielman), wide receiver (Delshawn McClellon), left end (Hunter Dimick or Jason Fanaika), nose tackle (Clint Shepard, Sese Ianu or Lowell Lotulelei), stud linebacker (Uaea Masina) and free safety (Tevin Carter) ... Sophomore Delshawn McClellon will likely get the starting nod at H receiver over JC transfer Tim Patrick ... Either Justin Thomas or Wykie Freeman will start at nickel back ... Uaea Masina has edged ahead of Pita Taumoepenu in the stud linebacker two deep.


The first Kyle Whittingham radio show of the season is Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. on ESPN700. The show will be broadcast live from the Desert Edge Brewery at Trolley Square and is free to the public ... The pre-game Ute Walk will start at 3:00 p.m. on the corner of Guardsman Way and 500 South. The first 100 text line participants will win customized, wooden coasters at the Ute Walk. To sign up for the Utah Football promotional text line, text UtahFB to 53535 ... Thursday's game is the annual Faculty & Staff Appreciation Game and tickets are $15 at UtahUtes.com with a limit of four tickets per U-ID ... The Utah gymnastics team will be recognized on the field for winning the 2014 Pac-12 Gymnastics Championship ... The Ute Proud Campaign kicked off last week. For more information see UtahUtes.com/UteProud ... The U on the mountain above campus will be lit for every Utah football game. After Utah victories, the team will hit the "TNT box", which will cause the U to flash.


Utah has played to 25-straight sellouts in Rice-Eccles Stadium extending back to the 2010 season-opener against Pittsburgh. Of the sellouts, 22 were played before standing-room only crowds that exceeded Rice-Eccles Stadium's former 45,017-seat capacity (starting this season, the stadium's seating capacity is 45,807). For the seventh-consecutive season, all 32,000 allotted season tickets were sold.


Dave Christensen, the former Wyoming head coach and 2011 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year, is in his first season as Utah's offensive coordinator and will also coach the tight ends. Other newcomers to the coaching staff are Jim Harding (offensive line) and Taylor Stubblefield (wide receivers). After nine seasons with the receivers, Aaron Roderick will coach the quarterbacks this fall, while head coach Kyle Whittingham takes over the special teams. On game day, Christensen, Dennis Erickson and Morgan Scalley will be the full-time coaches in the booth.


Use the hashtag #GameDayU on Utah football game days to participate in and follow the conversations on the Utes on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. During the week, search #PrepareU on Twitter for a behind-the-scenes look at Utah practices. Follow Utah athletics on UtahUtes.com, twitter.com/utahathletics, instagram.com/utahathletics and facebook.com/uathletics.


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