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Utah Utes football notebook: So-Cal has been fertile ground for finding quarterbacks

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012 7:01 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson (7)during warmups as the Univeristy of Utah and Arizona State University play PAC 12 football Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Tempe, Arizona.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to recruiting quarterbacks, the Utah Utes are finding Southern California to be quite prosperous. Besides current starter Travis Wilson (San Clemente HS), they've secured commitments from two others from the region — Conner Manning (El Toro HS) and Brandon Cox (Pasadena HS). The recruits plan to sign with the Utes in February and join the mix next summer.

"Southern California has been real good with quarterbacks. There's great talent there. So I'm glad to have them," Wilson said. "I'm excited that they're going to be up here next year. I hope I can help them get better and just have them push me, too, to get better."

Wilson, a true freshman, isn't taking anything for granted.

"I definitely like being pushed by guys like that. I want to be competing every year to earn the starting job," Wilson said. "Every year it could be something different. Every year I'm not going to be guaranteed the starting job. I'm always going to have to work for it."

Wilson and redshirt freshman Adam Schulz will be Utah's only returning scholarship quarterbacks for 2013 because of Jordan Wynn's retirement and the graduation of Jon Hays.

RUNNIN' UTES: Whittingham acknowledged a need for the Utes to accentuate the run game more. They've failed to net 100 yards since rushing for 193 in the season opener against Northern Colorado.

"We've got to make more of a concerted effort to run the football," Whittingham said. "I don't think we're running the ball enough and that's something going forward that we need to make an effort to do."

In specific, Whittingham wants to get the ball in John White's hands more often.

In last week's 21-14 loss to UCLA, the Pac-12's leading returning rusher had just 11 carries for 44 yards. The senior had only one attempt in the second half.

SMELLING THE ROSES: Utah athletics director Chris Hill said a football game in the historic Rose Bowl is like going to Yankee Stadium for baseball. Before the Utes' first game in Pasadena as a member of the Pac-12, Hill noted that these kind of trips are now regular stops.

"We've been to the Rose Bowl before but it's a different feel knowing you are going to be coming back and keep coming back," Hill said. "So it makes it real, as opposed to saying we've got UCLA on the schedule once every 10 years — home and home."

Email: dirk@desnews.com

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