Depth Chart |
The first year under head coach Kyle Whittingham had its rocky
moments, like a three-game midseason losing streak hitting the los
point with a home gaffe against San Diego State, but the team showed
how resilient it could be by beating archrival BYU and winning the
bowl game despite losing star quarterback Brian Johnson.
While getting back to the 12-0 level of 2004 is highly
unlikely anytime soon, being good enough to be the biggest bad boy
in the Mountain West is very attainable with good talent all over
the place along with the confidence that comes from the great
Head coach: Kyle Whittingham
2nd year: 7-5
Off. 16, Def. 18, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 29
Best Ute Players
SS Eric Weddle, Sr.
2. LB Casey Evans, Sr.
3. QB Brett Ratliff, Sr.
4. OT Tavo Tupola, Sr.
5. WR Brian Hernandez, Sr.
6. LB Joe Jiammoni, Jr.
7. DT Kelly Talavou, Sr.
8. OT Jason Boone, Jr.
9. OG Robert Conley, Soph.
10. QB Tommy Grady, Jr.
at Utah State
at San Diego State
at New Mexico
at Air Force
2005 predicted wins
at TCU L 23-20 OT
at No Carolina
at Colorado St
San Diego St
W 41-34 OT
Georgia Tech W 38-10
The defense returns seven starters, but where will they play? Safety
Casey Evans moves to linebacker after finishing second on the team in
tackles, top nose guard Kelly Talavou will move to tackle, and
All-America talent Eric Weddle will move anywhere in the secondary that
needs him. Those are just the high-profile moves; there are plenty of
more players still trying to figure out where their homes are.
Yeah, the defense will be fine, but it's the offense that'll get people
buzzing about Utah football. Even after losing several stars, including
Heisman-caliber quarterback Alex Smith, the Utes still managed to finish
12th in the nation in total offense while throwing up 30 points per
It all starts with the quarterback situation, which is
still strong even though Johnson is taking a year off to make sure his
knee is healthy for 2007. The system makes stars out of smart
quarterbacks, and Brett Ratliff and Tommy Grady certainly fit the mold.
Utah football really is that good. It can hang around with the big boys
thanks to the devastating offense, and there are enough good athletes on
defense to get the job done. The expectations have been jacked up in
Salt Lake City, and rightly so.
Schedule: There's one big chance to make a national splash, and it
comes right away in the opener at UCLA. If the Utes win that, then the
spotlight will be on. The Mountain West opener at San Diego State might
seem like a layup, but the Aztecs won last year 28-19. Playing Boise
State will certainly be a fun showdown of top offenses, but it'll be
hard to concentrate with the Mountain West game of the year against TCU
coming up the following Thursday. Playing three of the final four games
at home, including the showdown with BYU, will help title hopes.
Offensive Player: Senior QB Brett
Ratliff. Brian Johnson was becoming a superstar when he went down with a torn
ACL. Ratliff turned into a shocking star over the final two games of the
season with wins over BYU and Georgia Tech leading the way to a battle
for the right to run the high-octane attack this fall. Johnson is the
better player, but he'll back next year with the knee not right yet.
Defensive Player: Senior SS Eric Weddle. One of the nation's best
all-around defensive backs, Weddle can play any spot with tremendous
speed and all-around athleticism. He's best as a corner, but he's mostly
needed at safety.
to a successful season: Senior RB Darryl Poston. The former USC
Trojan turned into the surprise number one back after spring ball, but
Mike Liti and Darrell Mack will each get their chances at the job this
fall. The three have to combine to replace 1,120-yard back Quinton
will be a success if ... the Utes win the Mountain West title. They get TCU, Colorado
State and BYU in Rice-Eccles, and they have the talent to win the four
conference road games against teams that didn't go to a bowl last year.
Anything less than a championship will be a major disappointment.
Oct. 5 vs. TCU. The Horned Frogs are the better team, but the Utes
are certainly good enough to get revenge after last year's 23-20
overtime loss. The winner of this game will likely be the Mountain West
The Last Time Utah…
- Penalties: Utah 92 for 762 yards - Opponents 68 for 541 yards
- Utah third quarter scoring: 102 - Utah fourth quarter scoring: 44
- Kickoff return average: Opponents 23.8 - Utah 22.1
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Emerald Bowl vs. Georgia Tech)
…missed a bowl game…2002
…pitched a shutout…2003 (Southern Miss)
…was shutout…1993 (Arizona State)
…scored 50 points…2004 (BYU)
…won a conference title…2004 (MWC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1994 (Mike McCoy)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Quinton Ganther)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2004 (Paris Warren)
…had a first-round draft choice…2005 (QB Alex Smith)