SALT LAKE CITY — Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham said Saturday morning's practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium would be the start of "real football." It was the first camp session with shoulder pads as the Utes work through the NCAA's acclimatization period.
"It was a grind. We were out here for a while and they handled it well," Whittingham said. "We had some conditioning afterwards, and we got through it all. So it was a positive day."
The Utes, he noted, got in some two-minute and third-down situational work.
"We are miles ahead, particularly in the two-minute drill, than where we were in the spring," Whittingham said. "So it's good to see us making some progress."
No depth chart changes, however, are planned until after the first scrimmage on Thursday.
Whittingham acknowledged it was very nice to get in some hitting and noted that more of the same is planned for Monday when practice resumes. The Utes will be able to don full gear on Tuesday and have some limited live work. Then comes the first two-a-day.
RUNNING BACK BATTLE: Three days of camp have failed to break the deadlock on top of the running back depth chart between Harvey Langi, Thretton Palamo and John White IV.
"One of them has got to step up, one or two of them. Right now they are kind of lumped together," Whittingham said. "One guy will look great for a couple of reps and not so good the next couple and the next guy will do the same thing. So we're waiting for that guy to step up and take charge."
Offensive coordinator Norm Chow said the way Utah's run game is designed, the Utes have the perfect backs — with White bringing a bit of a difference than the bigger guys.
"But they've got to run downhill," he said. "They can't be dancing around."
IN LOVING MEMORY: Utah starting quarterback Jordan Wynn is sporting a tattoo on his left arm to honor his grandmother, Joan, who died of lung cancer in May.
"On her bucket list, she wanted a tattoo. The doctors told her no because it was kind of late in the stages of cancer," Wynn explained. "So I told her that I would get her one if she ended up passing away."
Wynn wound up getting the tribute at the end of May. The script on his arm reads: "Peace be with you. Grandma Joan. 5-5-11. Be with me every step."
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DAY 3: The Utes added shoulder pads to their gear in a Saturday morning practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
STANDOUTS: Safety Keith McGill continues to draw praise from head coach Kyle Whittingham. He said quarterbacks Jordan Wynn and Jon Hayes are also doing good things.
INJURIES: Defensive lineman Latu Heimuli has a sore ankle but isnt expected to miss any practice time. Wide receiver Anthony Denhams pulled hamstring will be evaluated again on Monday.
NEXT UP: Practice resumes Monday morning.