2009 record: 10-3, 6-2 (3rd in Mountain West)
2009 bowl: Beat California 37-27 in Poinsettia
2009 final AP/coaches' ranking: 18/18
Coach: Kyle Whittingham (47-17, 6th year)
Co-offensive coordinator: Dave Schramm (2nd year), Aaron Roderick (1st year)
Defensive coordinator: Kalani Sitake (2nd year)
Returning offensive starters: 8
Returning defensive starters: 4
Location: Salt Lake City
Stadium: Rice-Eccles Stadium (FieldTurf; 45,017)
Last league title: 2008
2010 schedule: [view]
2010 roster: [view]
2009 statistics: [view]
Offensive: Sophomore quarterback Jordan Wynn, thrown into the fray last season, performed remarkably well for a freshman, even earning MVP honors at the Poinsettia Bowl with a 336-yard passing effort. Wynn has to be encouraged by the backfield depth. Senior Eddie Wide returns after a 1,069-yard, 12-touchdown season. Meanwhile, Matt Asiata, Utah’s leading rusher in the 2008 season, was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing all but four games last season. The top pass-catching target will be senior Jerome Brooks, who had 56 receptions and seven touchdowns in a complimentary role. Four starters return to the offensive line, including All-American candidate Caleb Schlauderaff at left tackle.
Defensive: Four Utah defensive players were taken in the NFL draft, so there’s bound to be some retooling. The remaining strength lies up the middle with sophomore defensive tackle Dave Kruger and junior nose tackle Sealver Siliga. There is concern at linebacker, where all three starters have departed and projected starter Nai Fotu suffered a season-ending injury in spring drills. Junior cornerback Brandon Burton is the secondary’s only returning starter, although senior Lamar Chapman, last season’s nickel back, will take over at the other corner.
Specialists: The Utes are in great shape. Senior place-kicker Joe Phillips, taking over for All-American Louie Sakoda last season, was superb. Phillips connected on 20 of his 22 field-goal attempts. Sophomore punter Sean Sellwood averaged 42.9 yards.
Coaching: Here’s a note for you. Kyle Whittingham is the first Utah coach in 100 years to have a winning record in each of his first five seasons. Not bad, after following Urban Meyer, who bolted for Florida after the 2004 season. Whittingham took what Meyer started, then raised the bar. And the winning will continue this season.
Heisman hopefuls: Utah players will be sitting out this season’s Heisman festivities.
Overview: Utah’s program remains on solid ground, although it will play second fiddle to TCU in the Mountain West. The schedule is interesting — games with Pittsburgh and Notre Dame — so there’s an opportunity to raise the program’s profile. Don’t expect a BCS bowl this season, but Utah again will be performing at an elite level. And next year's it's off to the Pac-10.
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