Utah Utes football: Utes make 'progress' during Tuesday scrimmage
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said "progress" was made at quarterback, offensive tackle and linebacker in Tuesday morning's scrimmage at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
It remains to be seen, however, just exactly how it'll impact the depth chart as the Utes move to the midway point of their final week of preseason camp.
As usual, those answers won't come until the coaches have a chance to evaluate the film and break things down.
Initial impressions, though, offered some insight.
Starting quarterback Jordan Wynn had a favorable showing. The junior completed 6-of-9 passes for 85 yards. He also had a 12-yard run for the first offense.
"I thought it went pretty well. No turnovers today. The ones had minimal penalties," Wynn said. "I thought it was pretty positive on my end, so I'm just going to continue to get better."
Whittingham wouldn't say if Wynn solidified his spot as the starter, but acknowledged he probably played the best out of a position group that includes senior Jon Hays, true freshman Travis Wilson and redshirt freshman Adam Schulz. "We'll go and watch the film and continue to evaluate but I thought Jordan had a nice day today and Travis did as well," said offensive coordinator Brian Johnson. "So after we watch the film as a staff we'll see what we think."
Wilson completed 4-of-9 passes for 30 yards, while Hays was 3-of-6 for 37. Schulz put up the best numbers — going 8-of-9 for 153 yards and three touchdowns — but did so against the threes.
"Every day I come out and compete. If that's what it should be labeled then it is what it is," Wynn said of any so-called quarterback controversy. "But I battle those guys every day."
Whether it's in the weight room or on the field, he added, the constant competition is making each quarterback better.
"It's nothing but a positive," Wynn said.
Wilson, meanwhile, is determined to keep pushing.
"I'm going to grind this all the way out until they make the decision," said the highly touted newcomer. "I'm happy to come out here and compete every day."
On the offensive line, Utah's pool of candidates to replace graduated all-conference tackles Tony Bergstrom and John Cullen as starters has narrowed.
If the Utes played today and senior Miles Mason (high ankle sprain) wasn't available, Whittingham said the junior Percy Taumoelau and true freshman Jeremiah Poutasi would cover the right and left sides, respectively.
"The offensive tackles starting to get play somewhat close to what we need," Whittingham said. "When we first started it was way off the pace."
Even so, Whittingham noted they'll need every bit of the next two weeks (before the Aug. 30 opener against Northern Colorado) to continue the progression.
Johnson agreed it'll be a point of emphasis. He thought the tackles held up well in the scrimmage with the exception of a late two-minute section.
"It was good work. Obviously I think you're starting to see some separation between some of our guys," Johnson said of the offense as a whole. "I'm pleased with the effort of the guys. We've still got a couple of weeks until we play to get stuff cleaned up but I like the direction we're headed."
Defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake was also optimistic.
"I think there's some things that we need to fix but I say that every scrimmage. We gave up some plays here and there but for the most part I was really happy with the way our guys performed," Sitake said. "We're in the middle of camp trying to get these guys to focus mentally — that was the main goal — and I thought our guys did a really good job at it."
Although Sitake would like to see more big plays, he was pleased that there weren't a lot of missed assignments.
As such, the logjam at linebacker remains competitive. With junior Trevor Reilly entrenched at the stud position, Whittingham said the Utes are still sorting out the other starting two linebacker spots. Candidates include current depth chart guys V.J. Fehoko, Jared Norris and LT Filiaga, as well as reserves like Dave Fagergren and Victor Spikes.
Norris had two tackles-for-loss in the scrimmage and Spikes was credited with 1.5 sacks.
"That's a position where we've really got to study the film carefully to make sure they're doing what they need to do," Whittingham said of the situation at linebacker.
UTAH CAMP REPORT
Day 11: The Utes held their second scrimmage of preseason camp Tuesday morning at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Standouts: Quarterback Jordan Wynn completed 6-of-9 passes for 85 yards with the first offense. Running back Kelvin York had the lone rushing touchdown. Dallin Rogers, DeVonte Christopher and Dres Anderson each had three receptions. Reggie Topps and Afa Bridenstine had fumble recoveries for the defense. Linebacker Victor Spikes had 1.5 sacks.
Injuries: Safety Quade Chappuis (sore shoulder), defensive end Hunter Dimick (quad contusion), defensive end Jacoby Hale (pulled hamstring) and running back Lucky Radley (pulled hamstring).
Overheard: "It's a competition at every position and I think that's healthy." — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
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