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Utah Utes football wraps up first full scrimmage

Published: Thursday, Aug. 11 2011 12:57 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — It wasn't perfect and at times it wasn't very pretty.

Even so, Utah's first camp scrimmage was still viewed as a step in the right direction. The Utes got a lot of work done Thursday morning at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

"I thought it went well, one of the cleaner, most efficient first scrimmages of fall camp that we've had in recent years," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who noted that both the offense and defense did some nice things.

Quarterback Jordan Wynn saw his most extensive live action since having shoulder surgery in December. The junior responded favorably by completing 9-of-17 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown.

Whittingham said it was nice to have Wynn back in the lineup and was pleased that his first two drives with the offense were sustained marches of 16 and 13 plays.

"I thought I threw pretty good," Wynn said. "I'd like to complete a few more passes but overall I thought I did pretty well. I was hitting the right spots."

Wynn has been on a pass count, for precautionary reasons, throughout camp. He didn't throw any passes in practice Wednesday in order to rest his arm for the scrimmage.

"Jordan is getting there. That was his first live work in a long time," said wide receiver DeVonte Christopher, who led the Utes with four receptions for 102 yards. "So it felt good to see him out there and to be catching balls from him and to have to him lead us in the huddle."

Wynn's biggest struggles came on the center exchange. He put the ball on the ground a couple of times on snaps from center Tevita Stevens.

"Just a lack of focus," Wynn said. "I've got to stay under center and not leave early. That's on me."

New offensive coordinator Norm Chow has Wynn lining up under center more often, and the transition is taking time.

"Being under center is new to us. We're still working the kinks out. We're working on it pre-practice, in practice, post-practice," Whittingham said. "That's something that's a point of emphasis and will continue to be."

It's something, he added, that has to become flawless.

Backup quarterback Jon Hays had a particularly tough outing. He completed just 4-of-12 passes for 27 yards and was intercepted three times, enduring heavy pressure and multiple sacks.

Chow acknowledged that mistakes are expected in the first scrimmage. The miscues, however, didn't overshadow everything.

"The effort and the attitude was absolutely terrific," Chow said.

While acknowledging there was still a lot of work to do, many of the Utes left the field with a bright outlook.

"It was probably one of the better first fall scrimmages that I've been a part of," Wynn said. "I think the offense came out and did well. We've just to continue to grow on that."

The offense scored touchdowns on a 26-yard pass from Wynn to Luke Matthews and on an eight-yard run by Tauni Vakapuna.

John White IV led the Utes with 47 yards on 12 carries, while Vakapuna finished with 42 yards on seven rushes. Thretton Palamo and Harvey Langi, who entered camp on top of the depth chart with White, managed just 21 and 10 yards, respectively.

Nine receivers caught passes, but only Christopher and Matthews had more than one reception.

"I think it went well for the first scrimmage," Matthews said. "Just coming out here, getting all the plays and finally going against a defense the whole time, it felt good to get out here and do that."

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