Utah Utes football: Quarterbacks making progress

Published: Monday, April 2 2012 2:05 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes quarterbacks Travis Wilson (7), Jon Hays (9), Jordan Wynn (3) and Chase Hansen (5) throw in the first spring football practice in Salt Lake City Tuesday, March 20, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah enters its third week of spring football, all is well at quarterback. The coaching staff is pleased with the performances of camp participants Jordan Wynn, Travis Wilson, Chase Hansen, Jon Hays and Adam Schulz.

"They're doing well. I'm really pleased with the progress they've made. It's a really good group," said offensive coordinator Brian Johnson. "Those guys are very smart and eager to get better. So it's a fun group to coach and obviously they're all extremely talented. So that's obviously a huge bonus for us as well."

Johnson, who added that he feels really good about the Utes' depth at the position, noted that the goal is to have all them continue to develop and get better.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham agreed that the quarterbacks are making progress this spring. All of them, he explained, are doing some good things.

While Wynn is the projected starter, the competition for the backup job will probably not be settled this spring.

"It'll continue on into the fall but we're getting a good start on it," Whittingham said before re-emphasizing the depth. "We've got five quarterbacks now that all have a lot of ability."

Wynn headlines the group. The junior is back after missing the final nine games in 2011 with a shoulder injury. He's participating in practice without limitations.

"I feel great," Wynn said. "I can't stress it enough that I feel legitimately healthy for the first time in a while and it's nice."

Johnson has noticed, crediting Wynn for putting his nose to the grindstone and working hard with trainer Paul Silvestri to overcome the challenges that followed two shoulder surgeries in a 10-month span.

"He's making throws out there like his old self," Johnson said. "It's great to see him healthy and now we've got to keep him healthy."

Wynn isn't the only quarterback being watched closely this spring. Highly touted newcomers Travis Wilson and Chase Hansen, who graduated from high school early in order to participate in spring ball, are also garnering a lot of attention.

"They're coming a long well," Wynn said. "I think they're doing a good job of coming in and working hard and just trying to get everything down."

The two others — senior Jon Hays, who started in place of the injured Wynn last season, and Schulz — are also seeing some action.

Whittingham noted that the coaches still feel good about Hays and that Schulz, a redshirt freshman who walked on last summer, may have the strongest arm of the group.

Besides competing for spots on the depth chart, the quarterbacks are also absorbing wrinkles that first-year coordinator Brian Johnson is adding to the offense this spring.

"I think it's been a seamless transition," Whittingham said. "There's enough carry over from last year — the things that we've hung on to — the terminology is very similar and so far I think it's been pretty smooth."

EXTRA POINTS: The Utes are scheduled to practice Tuesday and Thursday from 3-5 p.m., at Rice-Eccles Stadium. A 90-play scrimmage is set for Saturday at 10 a.m. ... All practices and scrimmage at the stadium are open to the public ... Dave Fagergren, Victor Spikes and Jared Norris are tri-leaders on the depth chart at rover linebacker ... The "Ultimate Tailgate" BBQ contest is slated for Saturday, April 21 prior to the Red & White Spring Game. Registrations are being accepted at www.utahutes.com.

Email: dirk@desnews.com Twitter: @DirkFacer

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