Utah Utes football notebook: O-line tackles are still area of concern
STEVE C WILSON, STEVE C WILSON
SALT LAKE CITY — It wasn't exactly a "State of the Utes" address, but it kind of sounded like one.
After Thursday morning's practice at Ute Field, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham responded to a question about where the team stood as compared to past years at this point in camp — two weeks away from the season opener.
"I think we're further ahead in most all areas except offensive tackle," Whittingham said, while evaluating the situation. "... From day one that was the focal point and it still is today."
The search to replace graduated all-conference honorees Tony Bergstrom and John Cullen is narrowing, however.
Senior Miles Mason topped the depth chart at right tackle before being sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Junior Percy Taumoelau was then moved over from the left side, which was then filled by true freshman Jeremiah Poutasi on the depth chart.
Other competitors for the tackle spots include freshman Kala Friel, Carlos Lozano and Daniel Nielson.
NO WYNN: Whittingham said the reason that starting quarterback Jordan Wynn didn't practice Thursday was because of a "tired arm" after throwing a bunch of balls in camp.
"If we played today he'd be fine to go," Whittingham said, while defining the situation as precautionary — comparing it to giving a baseball pitcher a little rest.
The silver lining, Whittingham acknowledged, was increased reps for the other quarterbacks — Jon Hays, Travis Wilson and Adam Schulz — and an opportunity to better evaluate them.
PIT-A-PLENTY: Wynn was among a dozen players in "The Pit" on Thursday.
"The bumps and bruises are accumulating and mounting right now. As soon as camp is over, you see that trend start to go the other way. You start to get fresh," Whittingham said. "It's to be expected. I'm sure every team in the country is in the same boat."
COACHING DEBUT: Whittingham's brother Cary will make his debut as Timpview High's head coach Friday night against Alta.
"I'm happy for him," Kyle said. "They've got a good coaching staff down there and hopefully they have some success."
When asked what Cary needs to do to be a good coach, Kyle had a quick response.
"When you win you're a good coach if you lose you're a dork," he said. "So that's pretty much the long and short of it."
On a more serious note, Kyle noted that Cary relates well to his players and is well liked. Cary, he continued, is also very organized and a blue-collar guy.
EXTRA POINTS: Whittingham is hopeful that Mason (high ankle sprain), center Vyncent Jones (hamstring) and guard Sam Brenner (shoulder) will be able to practice on Monday ... Sophomore Geoff Norwood has played his way into the 4-5 man rotation at wide receiver. Whittingham said Norwood is also in the mix to return punts ... The annual Utah FanFest is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 25 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
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