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Utah Utes football: Kyle Whittingham adds Utah State assistant coach Ilaisa Tuiaki to Ute staff

Published: Friday, Feb. 24 2012 8:04 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State assistant coach Ilaisa Tuiaki has accepted a yet-to-be determined position on Kyle Whittingham's football coaching staff at Utah, a source close to the program has confirmed. An official announcement is expected Monday.

Tuiaki, who was the Aggies' recruiting coordinator as well as running backs and tight ends coach, served as a graduate assistant on Utah's Sugar Bowl championship team in 2008 — working with linebackers, including standouts Stevenson Sylvester and Mike Wright.

In his biography on USU's official Web site, Tuiaki is praised by head coach and former Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen.

"Ilaisa played for me at Southern Utah, and I've been impressed with him as a player and a coach ever since. He's a young, passionate coach that puts the players first, and he does great things with our young, talented running backs here at Utah State, as well as working on special teams," Andersen said. "His recruiting skills are also a big asset for us. He has done a great job recruiting Polynesian players, as well as Utah players, helping us continue to expand on the number of Utah and Polynesian players in our program."

Tuiaki is expected to oversee the running backs or tight ends at Utah. Special teams coordinator Jay Hill will coach the other position as Whittingham completes a shuffling of the deck with his staff following the offseason departures of Norm Chow (Hawaii), Tim Davis (Florida) and Dave Schramm (Fresno State).

Other moves include the naming of Brian Johnson as offensive coordinator and added titles for defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake (assistant head coach) and receivers coach Aaron Roderick (passing game coordinator). Dan Finn and Sharrieff Shah have been hired to coach the offensive line and cornerbacks, respectively.

PRO DAY: The Utes' annual "Pro Day" is set for Friday, March 23. NFL Scouting Combine participants Tony Bergstrom, John Cullen and Derrick Shelby are expected to be among the outgoing seniors in attendance.

SPRING BALL: Utah has finalized its spring football schedule. The Utes will start practicing March 20 and conclude camp with the annual Red-White Spring Game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m.

All 15 spring practices are scheduled for the stadium and are open to the public. However, in the event of inclement weather, practices may be moved to the Spence Eccles Field House. For space and liability reasons, those sessions will be closed to the public.

Utah's spring schedule:

Practice No. 1 (no pads): March 20, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 2 (no pads): March 22, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 3 (tackle): March 24, 10 a.m.-noon.

Practice No. 4 (tackle): March 27, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 5 (no tackle): March 29, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 6 (tackle): March 30, 4-6 p.m.

Practice No. 7 (tackle): April 3, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 8 (no tackle): April 5, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 9 (scrimmage): April 7, 10 a.m.-noon.

Practice No. 10 (tackle): April 10, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 11 (no tackle): April 12, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 12 (scrimmage): April 14, 10 a.m.-noon.

Practice No. 13 (tackle): April 17, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 14 (no pads): April 19, 3-5 p.m.

Practice No. 15 (Red-White Spring Game): April 21, 1 p.m.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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