Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Football Opens Season against Utah State Thursday

Trevor Reilly speaks to the media at Monday's press conference.

Trevor Reilly speaks to the media at Monday's press conference.

Aug 26, 2013

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SALT LAKE CITY--

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Quotes from Coach Whittingham's Weekly Press Conference

QUICKLY


> Utah (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) hosts Utah State (0-0, 0-0 Mountain West) in the season opener for both teams on Thursday, Aug. 29 in Salt Lake City. Kickoff in Rice-Eccles Stadium is at 6 p.m. MDT and the game will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1. Radio is ESPN700 AM (espn700sports.com).

> Thursday's game is Utah's first ever Stripe the Stadium promotion. Fans are asked to wear red or white, depending on their section in the stands. Information on what color to wear can be found at http://utahutes.cstv.com/tickets/stripe-the-stadium.html.

> While a sellout is anticipated for Thursday's game, standing room only tickets are available and may be purchased at UtahUtes.com, the Rice-Eccles Stadium box office and by calling 801-581-UTIX.

> Utah and Utah State are playing in the first football game televised on the new FOX Sports 1. A year ago, Utah played Northern Colorado in the first football televised on the Pac-12 Networks. To see if your provider carries FOX Sports 1, use this online channel finder: http://tinyurl.com/k4jrh7a.

> Utah State is Utah's oldest rival and the series, in its 111th game, is the 12th-longest in NCAA FBS history. The first football game in Utah history was against USU in 1892. Utah, which leads the series 77-29-4, saw a 12-game win streak against the Aggies snapped in overtime last year in Logan. See page 2 for complete series information.

> Utah is 88-29-1 all-time in home openers. The Utes are 5-2 against USU in home openers and 11-4 overall in season openers against the Aggies.

GRIDBITS

Utah, which competed in the Mountain West Conference from 1999-2010 before joining the Pac-12 Conference, is 292-154-11 against current MWC members ... second-year Ute assistant Ilaisa Tuiaki held three positions at USU from 2009-11 (running backs, special teams, recruiting coordinator) and offensive graduate assistant Robert Conley was the offensive GA at USU in 2011. Aggie linebacker coach Kevin Clune was a U. graduate assistant in 2001-02.

WHAT'S NEW AT THE U?

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 ... The team's operations have moved into the new $32 million, 150,000-square foot Spence & Cleone Eccles Football Center.

TWO MINUTE DRILL

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 was named to the John Mackey Watch List and Trevor Reilly to the Butkus Award Watch List ... Full-time coaches up in the booth will be co-offensive coordinator Erickson and safeties coach Morgan Scalley.

IN THE HUDDLE

Travis Wilson, Jeremiah Tofaeono, Tenny Palepoi and Trevor Reilly were elected as team captains ... Two returning starters changed numbers in fall camp. Linebacker V.J. Fehoko will now wear #52 and punter Tom Hackett is now #33 ... As many as 10 players are projected to make their starting debuts against Utah State, including OG Junior Salt, OT Siaosi Aiono, RB Kelvin York, WR Anthony Denham, DT LT Tuipulotu or Sese Ianu or Viliseni Fauonuku, LB Jared Norris, CB Davion Orphey, NB Justin Thomas, K Andy Phillips and SN Chase Dominguez ... Freshman kicker Phillips has never played in a football game. He is a former five-year member of the U.S. Ski Team (2007-11) ... There was some movement among the backup offensive linemen last week. Most noticeable in the shuffle is that Andrew Albers has moved from right to left tackle as the No. 2 and Mark Pouvave is now the backup right guard with Derek Tuimauga. Pouvave was previously backing up at left tackle ... James Poole is No. 1 this week on both punt and kickoff returns.

FAN PARTICIPATION

The pre-game Ute Walk will start at 3:30 p.m. on the corner of Guardsman Way and 500 South ... Fans are asked to wear red or white, depending on their section in the stands, for the Stripe the Stadium promotion. Information on what color to wear can be found at http://utahutes.cstv.com/tickets/stripe-the-stadium.html ... Commemorative stickers to honor Ute recruit Gaius "Keio" Vaenuku, who died in a car accident on July 30, will be distributed at the gates. The stickers will resemble the helmet decals the team will wear this season. There will also be a pre-game ceremony and a moment of silence ... Winners of the Utah Ultimate Tailgate competition that was held prior to the Red-White Spring Game in April will be recognized at halftime. The 2013 Utah Food Champion is the Utah Red Bus and the Ultimate Tailgate Champion is Uteland.

OUTSIDE THE LINES

The first Kyle Whittingham radio show of the season is Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. on ESPN700. The show will be broadcast live from Harmon's City Creek and is free to the public ... Some bleacher seats and standing room tickets remain for all seven of Utah's home games. For the sixth-consecutive season, all 32,000 allotted season tickets were sold ... Utah has sold out every home game in the past three seasons with 18 straight sellouts. Of the sellouts, 16 were played before standing-room only crowds that exceeded Rice-Eccles Stadium's 45,017-seat capacity ... The Block U in the foothills above Utah's campus will be illuminated in red light during home games for football, men's basketball, women's basketball and gymnastics this year. For football road games, white lights will shine from the U. After home victories in those sports--as well as football road victories--the lights on the U will flash.

 

 

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