Utah Utes football notebook: Kyle Whittingham upbeat on team's progress
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah completed a busy stretch of preseason camp with a physical practice and a lot of conditioning Saturday morning at Ute Field.
It capped what head coach Kyle Whittingham called a "positive week." He noted that the Utes got a lot of work in — 90 percent installation of the offensive and defensive schemes — but still have a lot to do when camp resumes on Monday.
Although pleased with the overall effort and concentration, Whittingham said the team will need every one of the practices that remain before the Aug. 30 opener against Northern Colorado. One of the shortcomings he pointed out was getting the red zone offense where it needs to be.
There will be plenty of opportunities to do so. The final week of camp includes more double days and scrimmages.
Sophomore receiver Dres Anderson acknowledged it's a grind, but said that working through it is what the Utes are all about.
"This is a hard-core program. This is the time where we need to shine, do great," he explained. "We're going to attack it like we do every week."
WILSON ON THE RISE: Whittingham once again said that freshman quarterback Travis Wilson is really closing the gap. He's No. 3 on the latest depth chart, behind starter Jordan Wynn and senior Jon Hays.
"He's doing a great job. He's really progressing and really a light switch has come on," Whittingham said. "He had a good spring, but a little bit of a slow start to camp. But he's really starting to progress and pick up these last three or four days."
SHOWING CAUTION: Running back John White and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei haven't seen any live (tackle) work in camp and Whittingham said it'll probably stay that way.
"We've got to have those two guys on Aug. 30 ready to line up," Whittingham explained. "So both of those guys are in the same category as far as we're concerned. (We're) just making sure they have enough work to stay sharp but don't expose them to too many hits."
NOT-SO-GOOD: Kicking has been a source of frustration in camp. Senior Coleman Petersen and junior Nick Marsh have struggled with consistency.
"That's been a disappointment," Whittingham said while noting that the Utes missed 3 of 4 kicks in the red zone Saturday, which is unacceptable.
The kicking game was shaky in camp last season as well, but wound up stabilizing by the time the season began. Petersen went on to earn Pac-12 all-conference honorable mention recognition.
"Hopefully it has a good ending just like last year," Whittingham said. "Right now, it's not good."
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