SALT LAKE CITY — On the eve of their second-to-last double day of camp, the Utah Utes gathered for a "State of the Team" discussion. Speakers included coordinators Norm Chow (offense), Kalani Sitake (defense) and Jay Hill (special teams).
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said it was a positive meeting and that the team resumed practice Wednesday morning with a great attitude.
A big element was missing, however.
Starting quarterback Jordan Wynn is sidelined with an illness.
"We hope to get Jordan back in a couple of days," Whittingham said. "He's pretty sick. He's in bed, not feeling well at all.
The silver lining, he added, was extra reps for backup Jon Hays and the other quarterbacks. Whittingham said Hays took a step forward in running the first offense.
Getting Wynn back on the field, though, is an obvious priority as camp winds down. The junior has been on a throw count for precautionary reasons after shoulder surgery in December.
"Offensively we've got a ways to go. I would say we're a little bit behind offensively. But we've still got a couple of weeks and we need to get Jordan practicing every day — sooner rather than later, but again that's a trainer decision," Whittingham said. "That will give us more continuity when we can get him in with the ones on a daily basis rather than the sporadic basis that we've been getting him."
Pass protection, however, is what Whittingham identified as the team's "main issue." In Tuesday's scrimmage, the defense racked up 12 sacks.
The success bolsters Whittingham's assessment that the defense is on track at this point.
"We've done a lot of good things," he said while noting the play of the young secondary and experienced front seven.
CHOW NOT DISCOURAGED: New offensive coordinator Norm Chow insists the offense is making progress.
"Our guys are grinding away and doing the best they can," he said. "We've thrown a lot at them. It's encouraging. We've got to get our guys back. But we're fine."
CAPTAINS CHOSEN: The players have spoken and it wasn't close. Whittingham said the team elected six captains Tuesday night, two more than usual, because of a clear gap in the voting that indicated who was looked upon for leadership.
Wynn, Luke Matthews and Tony Bergstrom are the captains on offense, while Star Lotulelei, Matt Martinez and Chaz Walker will represent the defense.
"I thought the guys did a great job of who they elected," Whittingham said.
O-LINE ON THE MEND: Whittingham said a couple of injured offensive linemen could be back in practice by the end of the week. Sam Brenner (elbow) and Latu Heimuli (thumb) are possibilities. Isaac Asiata (ankle) is a week or two away, as is Percy Taumoelau (knee).
"Hopefully they'll start to trickle back into the mix for us," Whittingham said.
SOCIAL MEDIA DAY: Utah's inaugural "Social Media Day" kicks of Thursday at 10 a.m., on UtahUtes.com, Facebook and Twitter. The football team will be represented by Chow at 12:15 p.m., Wynn and Bergstrom at 12:30 p.m., and then Walker and Lei Talamaivao at 12:45 p.m.
For a complete schedule check out the Utah Utes blog at www.deseretnews.com.
Utah camp report
DAY 12 (2 sessions): The Utes had a morning practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium, and an afternoon practice at the baseball field.
STANDOUTS: Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said defensive tackle James Aiono and defensive end Nate Fakahafu had good practices.
INJURIES: Quarterback Jordan Wynn did not practice because of illness. Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei sat out with a thigh contusion.
STANDOUTS: Coach Kyle Whittingham said the offense was much better overall and he is pleased how linemen Vyncent Jones and Kapua Sai are filling in for injured starters.
NEXT UP: A single practice Thursday morning at Ute Field.
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