Utah Utes football notebook: Trevor Reilly making an impact on defense

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10 2012 8:17 p.m. MDT

Utah linebacker Trevor Reilly, who leads the Utes with 32 tackles, tries to corral USC wide receiver Robert Woods.

Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said that junior linebacker/defensive end Trevor Reilly has made remarkable progress since arriving on campus as a 205-pound freshman "beanpole."

Reilly, who has since added 40 pounds to his 6-foot-5 frame, leads the Utes with 32 tackles — seven more than any of his teammates.

"He's come a long ways. He's evolved into a very good defender," Whittingham said while noting that Reilly has a knack for making plays, something that can't really be coached. "He may get all-conference honors of some sort this year. That's how productive he's been so far."

Reilly has already made four stops behind the line of scrimmage, along with 2.5 sacks, two pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry.

QB COMPETITION: Whittingham continued to say good things about true freshman quarterback Travis Wilson.

"Every week is a competition and right now he's doing a nice job," Whittingham said. "He's been taking a lot of reps with the ones."

Although Wilson is expected to have an expanded role this week against UCLA, Whittingham declined to say if it could be big enough to unseat senior starter Jon Hays.

Announcing a starter, he explained, is something they wouldn't do any week.

GREAT SCOTT: Sophomore receiver Kenneth Scott tops the Utes with 19.6 yards per catch. However, when it comes to receptions, Scott only has eight — fourth-best on the team.

Getting the athletic 6-foot-3 Scott more involved, Whittingham acknowledged, would obviously be beneficial.

"It seems like every time you throw it to him he comes down with it," he said. "So that's on us as coaches to do a better job of designing things for Kenneth and getting him more touches, more opportunities."

NO WORRIES: Utah's midseason move to more of a spread offense doesn't have Jake Murphy worried about future use of the tight ends. The sophomore is currently tied with wide receiver DeVonte Christopher for the team lead with 14 catches this season.

"As long as I can keep making plays and contributing in some way I think they'll find a way for us to get on the field," Murphy said. "There's been successful tight ends throughout the country who run the spread offense. So I've just got to keep working hard and make it hard for them to keep tight ends off the field in the spread."

EXTRA POINTS: Utah practiced in the morning for the second consecutive day while classes are out for fall break. … Washington State returned 650 bleacher seats for the Nov. 3 game at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Those tickets are on sale now through the Utah ticket office. … The Utes will be making just their second appearance on FOX. Their only other game on the network was the 2009 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama.

Email: dirk@desnews.com, Twitter: DirkFacer

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