Estimated read time: 12-13 minutes
> Utah (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) hosts Northern Colorado (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky) in the season opener for both teams on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 5:15 p.m. MT in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on the Pac-12 Networks (in Utah, Comcast channel 757/HD and 37/SD). Radio is ESPN700 AM (espn700sports.com) and SIRIUS 128.
> Utah and Northern Colorado are playing in the first football game ever televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
> While a sellout is anticipated for Thursday's game, standing room only tickets are available and may be purchased on UtahUtes.com, at the Rice-Eccles Stadium box office and by calling 801-581-UTIX.
- Utah (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) vs. Northern Colorado (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky)
- Date: Thursday, Aug. 30
- Time: 5:15 p.m. MDT
- Site: Rice-Eccles Stadium (45,017/FieldTurf)
- TV: Pac-12 Networks • in Utah Comcast 757 (HD) & 37 (SD)
- Radio: ESPN700
- Series Record: Utah leads 2-0
- Last Meeting: 1937 (Utah 7-6)
- Kickoff Weather: Partly cloudy, temps in the upper 80s
Utah's 2-0 series edge came in back-to-back seasons in 1936 and 1937. After beating the Bears 26-0 in Salt Lake City in 1936, Utah had a much tougher time a year later in Greeley, Colo., winning 7-6.
> Looking ahead, some bleacher seats and standing room tickets remain for home games against California, Washington State and Arizona, while the BYU and USC games are sold out. For the fifth-consecutive season, all 32,000 allotted season tickets were sold.
> Utah leads the series with Northern Colorado 2-0 in games played back in 1936 and 1937. See page 2 for complete series information.
To buy a UTA TRAX Wristband valid for game day transit please visit https://www.rideuta.com/buyapass/index.aspx.
For more information about UTA Bus and TRAX light Rail service, call RIDE UTA (801-743-3882) or visit the Ride UTA website.
For additional information, please visit the University of Utah Commuter Services website at http://www.commuterservices.utah.edu/events/football/index.html.
> Utah is 34-0 all-time against current Big Sky Conference schools. The Utes opened the 2011 season with a 27-10 victory over Big Sky member Montana State.
> Utah was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South in the 2012 preseason media poll.
> Utah has made 10 bowl appearances since 2001, going 9-1 with a 2-0 record in BCS bowl games. Utah is one of just three teams in the country to win six bowl games in the last seven years (with Florida and TCU).
Utah finished 8-5 overall and 4-5 in its first year in the Pac-12 Conference, tying for third in the South Division. Utah won five of its last six games including four straight Pac-12 wins. The Utes, who were in the running for a berth in the first Pac-12 Championship game until the last week of the season, earned the league's first bowl win, beating Georgia Tech 30-27 in overtime in the Sun Bowl. Earning first-team all-Pac-12 honors were offensive tackle Tony Bergstrom, defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and defensive end Derrick Shelby. Lotulelei won the Morris Award as the league's top defensive lineman. Making second-team all-conference were offensive tackle John Cullen and running back John White. ### IN THE HUDDLE
Quarterback Adam Schulz and cornerback Tyler White have been awarded scholarships. Both are redshirt freshmen ... In the final week of fall camp, redshirt freshman running back Jarrell Oliver moved past JC transfer Kelvin York for the backup job behind John White. York is on the depth chart at No. 3 ... A freshman will start at rover linebacker where Jared Norris and LT Filiaga are in a dead heat for the job ... Others preparing for their first starts as Utes are offensive linemen Jeremiah Tofaeono at left guard and Percy Taumoelau at right tackle. Along with Norris and/or Filiaga, new starters on defense include Nate Fakahafua at left end and V.J. Fehoko at middle linebacker. Everyone else in the starting lineup has started in at least one game in his career. ### TWO MINUTE DRILL
Utah returns 18 starters and 55 lettermen from last year's 8-5 Sun Bowl champion team ... Kyle Whittingham is 66-25 entering his eighth season as Utah's head coach ... Quarterback Jordan Wynn was granted an additional year from the NCAA after a season-ending shoulder injury in the fourth game of 2011. Wynn, a junior, will start for his fourth season ... Senior preseason All-America defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is viewed by many as the top interior defensive lineman in the country. Lotulelei made a number of preseason All-America teams including CBSSports.com, SportsIllustrated.com, Phil Steele and Athlon ... Senior John White is coming off the best season ever by a Ute running back (1,519 yards) and is the top returning rusher in the Pac-12 (116.8 ypg) ... The only position without a starter returning is at offensive tackle where Utah must replace all-conference players Tony Bergstrom (first team) and John Cullen (second team) ... Brian Johnson will call his first game as an offensive coordinator this Thursday. At age 25, Johnson is the youngest coordinator in the country ... For the second-straight year, there was a 98-percent renewal rate for Utah football season tickets. Every game in Rice-Eccles Stadium for the last two seasons has sold out and the average attendance for each the past four seasons has exceeded the 45,017 seating capacity. The Utes have sold out 12 consecutive home games. ### PRE-GAME WARMUPS
By 2:45 p.m., fans should line up at the corner of Guardsman Way and 500 South for the traditional pre-game "Ute Walk" ... A skydiving Swoop will jump from an airplane while carrying a Utah and Pac-12 Network flag, which he will present to Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott during the pre-game band performance ... The Utes will run out of a new tunnel for the pre-game intros ... 10,000 pom sticks will be handed out at the gates. ### OUTSIDE THE LINES
The first Kyle Whittingham radio coach's show of the season is Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. on ESPN700. The show will be broadcast live from Harmon's City Creek and is free to the public. Typically, the show runs on Wednesdays, with three Tuesday exceptions (Aug. 28, Oct. 2 and Nov. 20) ... At halftime, Utah native Trevor Lewis, a member of the Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings, will be introduced ... During a first-quarter break, Utah women's tennis coach Mat Iandolo will be presented with the Don Reddish Award as the school's top coach for 2011-12 (award is for coaches other than those in the sports of basketball, football and gymnastics). Iandolo led the team to the second round of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships. ### NEW TRADITIONS
The Crazy Lady will perform near the end of halftime (approximately the 4:00 mark) instead of at the third quarter break to get the fans on their feet as the Utes run out of the locker room ... The Utah marching band will play a taiko, a Japanese drum that is 72" in diameter and weighs more than 600 pounds, along with smaller accompanying drums, during the third quarter break. At the conclusion of the taiko performance, the ROTC cannon will sound four times to signify the start of the fourth quarter ... The Utes will unveil a black helmet with a red circle and feather logo for the annual blackout game on Oct. 27 vs. Cal. The team will wear the black helmet periodically throughout the season in a variety of different uniform combinations that could feature red, white or black jerseys and pants. Replica black helmets will be available for purchase at the University Campus store leading up to the blackout game ### UTE-TWEETS
Utah has five alumni coaches: Jay Hill, CB/ST; Brian Johnson, OC/QB; Chad Kauha'aha'a, DL; Morgan Scalley, SAF and Sharrieff Shah, CB #utes ... Four Utes are preparing to start for their fourth season: OL Tevita Stevens, DT Dave Kruger, WR Luke Matthews and P Sean Sellwood. Quotes from Kyle Whittingham's Weekly Press Conference
Like every year at this time, we're excited to get the season started. We've spent a lot of time banging on each other, so we're eager to line up against an opponent and hit someone besides ourselves.
We're excited to find out what team we have. All indications from spring ball and fall camp indicate we're going to be pretty competitive, but you never know until you line up against an opponent.
We are pretty good health-wise. We came out of fall camp as well as we can possibly hope for. We had some injuries that set us back prior to fall camp, but I thought we came out of camp clean.
The guys have worked hard and our leaders have kept our work ethic where it needs to be. Practices have been spirited and productive and we're ready to get things started.
On Northern Colorado:
They have some skill. They are a spread team. Last year they spread the field and were very much a throw-first team. There are a lot of unknowns going into the opener and this year is no different. We're hearing there is more balance out of camp; it's more 50/50 this year rather than concentrate on the throw. I've been more concerned about us this camp. We've been more concerned about our own guys and doing things the right way.
On the depth chart and Ken Scott:
Ken Scott has been playing exceptional football, particularly the last seven to 10 days he has really started to emerge. From the onset of camp, every day is a competition. Scott has done enough in practice to be a starter.
On Jarrell Oliver:
Kelvin York hasn't slipped, but Jarrell has been one of the pleasant surprises during camp. His initial drawback was pass protection and his responsibilities have come a long way in that area. Really it is a two-way tie for second and there is not a lot of separation between the two. They will both play, but if I had to say, I would give Jarrell the edge.
On the offense and how much Utah will show against Northern Colorado:
A good percentage of it is specific schemes and game plans for your opponent. We will do things next week that you won't see this week. It's an ongoing process. I'm not going to hide anything. We will do what we have to do to run the offense and be productive.
On offensive coordinator Brian Johnson:
This is not the first time he has called plays; he did it plenty as a quarterback. We have had conversations and I have felt very comfortable how he has handled scrimmage situations. He's been outstanding, so there are no reservations whatsoever. I have a great deal of confidence in Brian and he has prepared well for this opportunity.
One thing that he is in charge of now is personnel groups - whatever group is on the field, he is in charge of making the decision on what group is going to be in the game. The biggest difference is making that determination. It's a chess match. You have to stay two to three steps ahead of the defense. He was able to do that as a quarterback and I expect he can do that as a coordinator.
Aaron Roderick is his right-hand man as the passing game coordinator. He will be down on the field along with Dan Finn, and Brian will be up top with several graduate assistants. For the most part we have an excellent offensive staff. It's not just Brian; the installation of this offense was a team effort on the part of five coaches. Brian has no ego - he listens and is eager to accept input and I think it's made a good situation. They are all on the same page and I expect them to be productive.
On the offensive line:
Right now Miles Mason is our left tackle and Bot (Percy Taumoelau) is our right tackle. We have some flexibility. Sam Brenner can move outside as well; we feel comfortable making that switch. Kala Friel and Jeremiah Poutasi have come a long way as well. It's as solidified as it could be, but we still need to see how well things unfold in a game situation.
On Travis Wilson:
Our plan is not to redshirt him. We want him to get involved in the mix and in a game situation. We will dictate where that takes place. There is no set plan, but we hope to be able to give him the football.
On the defense:
We expect to be physical in the front seven and tough against the run. We expect to control the run game every week. No blown assignments in the secondary and execution in responsibilities. The most important thing is to tackle well. I feel we are one of the best tackling teams in the country. The most important skill on defense is the ability to tackle.