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Utah Utes football: Norm Chow enjoying spring ball on the hill

Published: Saturday, April 9 2011 8:39 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Norm Chow's first spring as Utah's offensive coordinator is nearly complete.

And aside from the recent run of snowy weather, Chow likes what he's seen up on the hill.

"I can't say it enough. Kyle (Whittingham) has got these kids ready to practice every single day. It's really refreshing and it's fun," Chow said after Saturday's practice at the Spence Eccles Field House. "We're making a ton of mistakes, but that's expected. The execution is tough, but we've made progress and these players deserve so much credit."

The Utes, he noted, are willing to do whatever is asked of them.

It's an attitude that is appreciated as Chow alters Utah's offense. He's doing so without projected starting quarterback Jordan Wynn, who isn't able to pass the ball this spring because of shoulder surgery. Youngsters Griff Robles and Tyler Shreve have been getting most of the reps.

Relative to those circumstances, head coach Kyle Whittingham notes that things are progressing well.

"It's been a great transition with Norm. We've got the offense essentially installed. There's some bits and pieces that we can take a look at next week, but the vast majority of the offense is installed," Whittingham said.

"There's a lot of change. There's a different look with our offense than what it was in the past. So we were starting at square one in that respect. I think we've progressed fairly well given the circumstances."

Chow, however, wishes there was more time. Utah's final week of spring ball ends with the Red-White Game on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

"It's been really, really fun," Chow said. "Have we made enough progress? I wish we had 15 more days, but we don't obviously."

Several of the Utes, though, have caught Chow's attention. Among those earning praise are Wynn, wide receiver DeVonte Christopher, senior tackles John Cullen and Tony Bergstrom, plus running back Thretton Palamo.

Chow has been impressed with Wynn in the meeting room and his grasp of the offense.

"We've got a good one," Chow said.

As for the others mentioned, he considers Christopher a big-time player and Palamo the surprise of camp. Chow said Cullen and Bergstrom are NFL prospects.

They're part of a group, Chow noted, that is physically and mentally prepared by Whittingham and strength coach Doug Elisaia.

So, how good are the Utes? Will they be able to compete in the Pac-12 this fall?

"No question. We're as good as anybody," said Chow, who knows the league well after stints at USC and UCLA. "But everybody is as good as we are. So we've just got to execute and work hard."

SCRIMMAGE MONDAY: Inclement weather led to moving Utah's scheduled scrimmage on Saturday to Monday at Rice-Eccles Stadium from 3-5 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

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