"This is by design," Kinneberg said. "Our first three weeks are as tough a weeks the program has ever been through. We've got to toughen up."
Anyway, this is exactly what the Utes should expect every year starting 2012 when they enter the Pac-12.
"The team's excited about the schedule," Kinneberg said.
While Kinneberg hesitated to call 2011 a rebuilding season, there have been some losses and additions from the team that finished 23-28, 10-13 in the Mountain West Conference.
The key return is junior C.J. Cron, already named as a pre-season All-American. College Baseball Daily ranked the catcher/first baseman No. 23 among the top 100 collegiate baseball players.
"It's a good measurement," said Cron of the Utes' schedule. "It's challenging. They're all just throwing a white baseball."
Cron, an expected high draft pick, raked in 2010, hitting .431 with 20 home runs and 81 RBIs in 49 games.
"Expectations on him are huge," Kinneberg said. "[But] he's been around the game. He's more interested in winning baseball games."
Kinneberg is pleased about his talented newcomers, including junior college shortstop James Brooks, who will move three-year starter Michael Beltran to second.
"We do have a lot of turnover," Kinneberg said. "But the returning guys have shown great leadership. The team's excited about the schedule."