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Crimson Corner: Utes set to kick off spring practice

Crimson Corner: Utes set to kick off spring practice


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SALT LAKE CITY - Football is back. The regular season may still be over five months away, but the Utes are set to start the first of 15 spring practices today at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Lots of questions are surrounding this year's camp.

How will Brian Johnson, the nation's youngest offensive coordinator, structure the offense?

How will quarterback Jordan Wynn respond from not one, but two shoulder surgeries in a period of 10 months?

Where will incoming players (Chase Hansen, Travis Wilson, Kelvin York) fit into the depth chart?

Over the next month you can get a glimpse of the 2012 Utah Utes, as all spring practices that are scheduled for Rice-Eccles Stadium are open to the public (see full schedule below).

Utah Utes wide receiver Reggie Dunn makes a long run as the University of Utah faces Arizona State in NCAA football in Salt Lake City, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)
Utah Utes wide receiver Reggie Dunn makes a long run as the University of Utah faces Arizona State in NCAA football in Salt Lake City, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

A few returning players have switched positions: Westlee Tonga has switched to defensive end from tight end; Keith McGill has moved to corner from safety; Thretton Palamo has transitioned to defensive end from running back; and Joape Pela has switched from offensive line to the other side of the ball to play defensive tackle.

The coaching staff has also seen plenty of shakeup: Brian Johnson became the youngest offensive coordinator in the country, and 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.

Utah spring football schedule

All spring practices are scheduled for Rice-Eccles Stadium and are open to the public. However, in the event of inclement weather, practices sessions moved to the Spence Eccles Field House will be closed to the public because of space limitations.

  • Practice 1 — Tuesday, March 20, 3-5 p.m. (no pads)
  • Practice 2 — Thursday, March 22, 3-5 p.m. (no pads)
  • Practice 3 — Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m.-noon (tackle)
  • Practice 4 — Tuesday, March 27, 3-5 p.m. (tackle)
  • Practice 5 — Thursday, March 29, 3-5 p.m. (no tackle)
  • Practice 6 — Friday, March 30, 4-6 p.m. (tackle)
  • Practice 7 — Tuesday, April 3, 3-5 p.m. (tackle)
  • Practice 8 — Thursday, April 5, 3-5 p.m. (no tackle)
  • Practice 9 — Saturday, April 7, 10 a.m.-noon (scrimmage)
  • Practice 10 — Tuesday, April 10, 3-5 p.m. (tackle)
  • Practice 11 — Thursday, April 12, 3-5 p.m. (no tackle)
  • Practice 12 — Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m.-noon (scrimmage)
  • Practice 13 — Tuesday, April 17, 3-5 p.m. (tackle)
  • Practice 14 — Thursday, April 19, 3-5 p.m. (no pads)
  • Practice 15 — Saturday, April 21, 1 p.m. (Red-White Game)

NOTE: University parking regulations will be enforced.

Other Camp News and Notes

* 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.

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