TB Brandon Warfield

2002 Statistics

Coach: Urban Meyer
1st year
2002 Record: 5-6
at Utah State WON 23-3
at Arizona LOST 17-23
at Michigan LOST 7-10
at San Diego State LOST 17-36
at New Mexico LOST 35-42 (2OT)
UNLV WON 28-17
at Wyoming WON 23-18

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

This won't be your dad's Utah offense. The grueling, plodding ground game of former coach Ron McBride has been replaced by new coach Urban Meyer's spread offensive approach. But don't expect to see the same high-octane attack Meyer showed at Bowling Green. Not this year, anyway. With personnel more suited to McBride's power game, expect a slow integration toward Meyer's dual-threat, fast-paced scoring machine. Utah already has lost a slew of (mostly reserve) players to transfers when they realized they wouldn't fit.

Look for Meyer to spread defenses out with three- and four-receiver sets, then thump bruisers Brandon Warfield and Marty Johnson through creases up front. If healthy and his medical redshirt comes through, Johnson's tremendous talent should command the majority of hand-offs. Plus, Utah just doesn't have the personnel in place (yet) to be a dangerous gun-slinging pass offense. But the mix of run and pass should marginally succeed, regardless. Meyer won't ask the starting QB to do anything incredible, but he'll have to avoid mistakes and be a good game manager. The Utes will be more than happy to put football games in the hands of a good running game and stout defense. That starts with a quarterback who'll take a sack, throw a pass way or milk the play clock when necessary.

On the other side of the ball, six starters are gone from a good unit. But what's left isn't bad. The Utes again should be one of the country's better-run defenses. It's stopping the pass that could be trouble. They'll need big seasons out of a top-shelf front-four, which will be responsible for creating much of the pass rush and running-lane disruptions. With average linebackers and an inexperienced but athletic secondary, the Utes just can't afford to blitz much out of their 4-3 basic set.

This team gains new identity, but not in time to make this a successful season (if measured by wins). Look for early non-cons Texas A&M, Cal, and Oregon to set an early tone this team will never overcome. But it is not their overall record that will size up any successes. The last four games should be a better measuring stick, allowing their preceding tilts to be the trials-by-fire needed to then realize any identity earned. But, who knows - they will probably win one of those games they shouldn't, and lose a few they should easily win. Maturing at that age can be so confusing, huh. Accordingly, a steep learning curve will pay off huge dividends by year's end, and into 2004.

Projected 2003 record: 5-6
DE Jason Kaufusi
QB - 3.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 4 LB - 2
WR - 1.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 1.5 ..

Passing: Brett Elliott, 221-130-8, 1529 yds., 10 TD

Rushing: Brandon Warfield, 201 att., 919 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Travis LaTendresse, 21 rec., 195 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Bryan Borreson, 11-21 FG, 26-30 PAT, 59 pts.

Punting: Morgan Scalley, 8 punts, 30.8 avg.

Kicking: Bryan Borreson, 11-21 FG, 26-30 PAT, 59 pts.

Tackles: Dave Revill, 89 tot., 58 solo

Sacks: Josh Savage, 5.5 sacks

Interceptions: Steve Fifita, 1 for 14 yds.

Kickoff returns: Bo Nagahi, 13 ret., 24.8 avg.

Punt returns: Morgan Scalley, 24 ret., 11.2 avg.


OFFENSE: Jordan Gross-OT, Devin Houston-WR, Josh Lyman-WR, Dustin McQuivey-C, Mark Palmer-FB, Tevita Vakalahi-OG, Paris Jackson-WR, J.R. Peroulis-RB
DEFENSE: Brooks Bahr-SLB, D'Shaun Crockett-CB, Sheldon Deckart-WLB, Lauvale Sape-NG, Garrett Smith-DT, Marcus Jones-DE, Jeremy Lyman-LB, Cody Weight-DB, Brian Lewis-P, Antwoine Sanders-FS (NFL)

written by Ryan Hockensmith

Urban Meyer has the weaponry to put points on the board. Six starters return from a unit that mustered only 31 touchdowns in 11 games. But the Utes will score more points, especially with Meyer's expertise and spread system.

The offense's most important position is quarterback. Any early advantage goes toward the starter of Utah's final six 2002 tilts, Elliott. Meyer has three viable options at quarterback: senior Lance Rice, junior Brett Elliott and sophomore Alex Smith. Rice, the best athlete, is 12-8 as a starter and the fastest candidate, but he lost his job halfway through last season. Elliott started the final six games and won his final three starts. He's a better dual-threat and probably can be called a slight favorite. Smith, a prototypical dropback passer, probably will be relegated to third on the depth chart.

Any of the three QBs will have an easy time of it with this stable of running backs. Senior Marty Johnson, a 5'11", 230-pound bulldozer, led the country in rushing through two games last season before he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He received a medical redshirt, so he's being included in this season's plan. He'll be rusty, but the Utes won't need him to lug it 35 times a game, either. His replacement last year, senior Brandon Warfield, put up 102.1 yards per game en route to second-team All-Mountain West honors. He's smaller (212 pounds) but elusive enough to find creases in spread-out defenses. If healthy, expect Johnson to see about 65 percent of the carries. Warfield will capitalize on the other 35 percent to give Utah a terrific tandem.

Good thing, too, because Utah has virtually nothing back at receiver. Meyer will use lots of three-receiver sets, utilizing Larry Miles, Paris Warren and Steven Savoy. The three had five 2002 catches, all by Miles. The senior has 10.4 100-meter jets, but hasn't shown Div. 1-A play-making skills yet. Oregon transfer Warren lit up the scout team defense all season as a redshirt, so there's reason to believe he can contribute. At the third spot, Savoy should emerge as a solid starter and future standout. After impressing last spring, Savoy blew out his knee in August and missed the season.

Don't expect many catches from the tight end position. The previous regime had a roster of big-body, blocking ends. About the best of what remains is senior Ben Moa, who caught 14 passes in 2002. Moa has the wheels to get downfield. He could catch 20 passes - some production from this position has to occur for the WC's potential be reached, though a good mix of running could solve this position's dilemmas.

The Utes don't have another NFL draft pick on the OL with the loss of Jordan Gross, but they expect big things from junior left guard Chris Kemoeatu. The massive junior (6'4", 339 pounds) looks like a future pro and should form a potentially dominant left side along with Gross' replacement, senior Thomas Herrion, who started three games at right tackle in 2002. Utah coaches expect him to slide over to the line's most crucial spot (at right tackle, protecting the quarterback's blind spot) without much trouble. Senior Sean Souza will take over at right tackle and is a pass-blocking specialist - perfect for Meyer's offense. At center, junior Max Petersen knows the line calls well and should also fit into the new look. Allowing 17 sacks in 2002 gives this squad something around which to build.


OG Chris Kemoeatu


Returning Starters in bold
QB Lance Rice-Sr Brett Elliott-Jr / Alex Smith-So
TB Brandon Warfield-Sr Marty Johnson-Sr
WR Steven Savoy-Fr Lynzell Jackson-Jr
WR Paris Warren-Jr Jerome Wright-Jr
WR Larry Miles-Sr Travis LaTendresse-Jr
TE Matt Hansen-Sr Ben Moa-Sr
OT Thomas Herrion-Sr Tavo Tupola-Fr
OG Chris Kemoeatu-Jr Eric Pettit-Fr
C Max Petersen-Jr Andrew Johnson-So
OG Siuaki Livai-So Jesse Boone-So
OT Sean Souza-Sr Makai Aalona-Jr
K Ford Hall-Jr Bryan Borreson-So



written by Ryan Hockensmith

After finishing as the nation's No. 12 rush defense, look for a similar performance in 2003. The Utes bring back five starters in their 4-3 scheme.

They'll be strongest up front and in the defensive backfield. The front four returns all-conference penetrating pest Jason Kaufusi, Utah's rush end. Kaufusi, a 24-year-old, has started since he was a freshman and should be the best defensive player in the conference. He had 12 TFLs and is a dangerous blur around the edge. Bookend Josh Savage is enough of a threat from the other side to keep offensive lines from ganging up on Kaufusi and his team leading 5.5 sacks last year will make it double tough on opposing QBs.

On the interior, rookie space eaters Sione Pouha and Steve Fifita have enough play to protect an inexperienced group of linebackers. Pouha, a junior, has an explosive array of physical tools. He's bursts a 1.77 10-yard dash, benches 370 pounds and squats a defensive-best 540 pounds. He's a load to handle off the snap, and his fellow clogger isn't far behind. Neither started in 2002, but that will not affect their combined ability and consequent play clogging the middle. Their ability to move laterally will dictate how stellar this DL is.

The linebacking corps will need the front four to occupy helmets to avoid blockers. Two starters, including all-conference pick Sheldon Deckart, are gone. That throws inexperienced, undersized players Ray Holdcraft, Zach Tune, Spencer Toone and Corey Dodds into the mix. Ray Holdcraft will be responsible for plugging the middle. He'll be pushed by junior Zach Tune, who's coming back from injury. At the outside spots, Spencer Toone and Corey Dodds are lanky blitz threats. Unless the defensive line is exceptional, this group will have a hard time holding up against downhill running games. Size is an issue across the LB board, so expect contests against major-conference foes to exploit this dimension's mis-match ups, accordingly.

Behind the LBs, senior Dave Revill should be a lock for all-conference honors. The strong safety paced the Utes in tackles and is a gritty (former) walk-on who sparks his teammates with big heart and big plays. The favorite to replace all-conference free safety Antwoine Sanders is converted wide receiver/running back Morgan Scalley, an athletic marvel. He scored highest on Utah's agility test and is a top special teams players.

On the outskirts, DBs Arnold Parker and Bo Nagahi are fantastic athletes without much experience. Parker's big and is the fastest cat on the team, but he struggled last season after moving from safety. He's rather effective off the corner on blitzes. But man-to-man coverage on the outside will not be a strong point, which could cause a trickle-down effect. If the front-four won't get much help on blitzes, the secondary won't be able to prey on the run, and therefore linebackers will have to drop into coverage. Not a good combination.


SS Dave Revill


Returning Starters in bold
DE Jason Kaufusi-Sr Marquess Ledbetter-So
DT Sione Pouha-Jr Lewis Powell-Sr
NG Steve Fifita-So Tevita Kemoeatu-Jr
DE Josh Savage-Sr Jason Voss-Fr
SLB Corey Dodds-Jr Aaron Bryant-Sr
MLB Ray Holdcraft-Sr Zach Tune-Jr
WLB Spencer Toone-So Steven Thompson-So
CB Bo Nagahi-Jr Antonio Young-So
CB Arnold Parker-Sr Shaun Harper-Fr / Shayne Scruggs-Sr
SS Dave Revill-Sr Kawika Casco-Jr
FS Morgan Scalley-Jr Grady Marshall-So / Bo Nahahi-Jr (NB)
P Matt Kovacevich-Jr ..




Sophomore kicker Bryan Borreson went 11-for-21 on FGAs and shanked four PATs. For a team that plays tight defense and scores 22.6 points per game, Borreson must improve, especially if the Utes again play six games decided by a touchdown or less. Junior Ford Hall should push Borreson for the job. JUCO transfer Matt Kovacevich has little competition at punter.

Scalley and Nagahi will handle return duties. Neither is spectacular, but both are solid. Again, the field-position battles that marginally shape games have to be won. This team cannot afford any extra pressures on a learning offense.