Utah Ute offense making significant progress

Published: Monday, April 9 2012 6:20 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — It may be an understatement to say that Utah's offense has made significant progress this spring.

Just ask senior wide receiver DeVonte Christopher or head coach Kyle Whittingham.

"Since I've been here this is the furthest we've ever been in spring just with the play calling," Christopher said. "We've got a lot of the install in."

Whittingham acknowledged that things are moving along at a good pace — perhaps better than ever.

"I would have to agree that right now we're playing as clean as we've played through nine practices in the spring," Whittingham said while noting the lack of penalties and errors overall.

Christopher added that the defense is also making plays.

"That's when it's good — when you have back-and-forth play going on," he said.

As Utah enters the fourth week of spring ball, both sides are moving forward.

"Right now what we're concerned with is everybody getting better every day," Whittingham said while emphasizing technique and fundamentals. "And we see that happening."

The offense has embraced a balanced scheme under new coordinator Brian Johnson. Quarterback Jordan Wynn said defenses will have to cover all 11 players on the field.

The Utes have a solid ground game with running backs John White, Kelvin York and Harvey Langi. Receivers like Christopher, Luke Matthews, Dres Anderson, Kenneth Scott and Reggie Dunn, as well as tight ends Jake Murphy and Westlee Tonga, give the Utes a solid aerial attack.

Balance, though, won't necessarily define Utah's offense. Whittignham explained that the Utes will have a lot of diversity in their formations and personnel groups — ranging from an "I" pro-set to empty five-wide alignments.

"We're going to have the whole spectrum," Whittingham said.

In last Saturday's scrimmage, Whittingham said the offense took a big step forward in terms of not pressing the play clock.

"Brian's doing a great job and getting a feel for the play calling," he continued.

The defense is also making strides.

Defensive end Joe Kruger, who had three sacks in the scrimmage, is predicting good things once work on defending the run game is improved and the young linebacker corps gains more experience.

"Once they get all their stuff down our defense is going to be real good," Kruger said.

WEEK NO. 4: The Utes are scheduled to practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Tuesday and Thursday from 3-5 p.m. An 80-play scrimmage is tentatively slated for Saturday at 10 a.m. However, if weather conditions are poor, the time and date of the scrimmage are subject to change.

As has been the case all spring, practices and scrimmages at the stadium are open to the public.

DEPTH CHARTING: This week's depth chart features a few changes — including the return of Miles Mason at right guard. Mason, who was last year's starter, has made his first appearance on the chart this spring. He's listed as the backup to Sam Brenner, who shifts over from the left side.

In another line move, Latu Heimuli has been switched from right guard to left guard and is listed as No. 2 behind depth chart leader Jeremiah Tofaeono.

On defense, Mike Honeycutt and Lewis Walker share the top spot at nickel back this week.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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