Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said there’s not a lot of change being made to the offense, just a bit of tailoring to the scheme to better fit the skill set of Adam Schulz. The sophomore quarterback will make his second collegiate start Saturday when the Utes visit Washiongton State.
“He’s doing a good job in practice,” said Whittingham, who added that Conner Manning is taking all the No. 2 reps and Brandon Cox is being prepped for emergency duty. Manning and Cox are true freshmen that the Utes hope to redshirt.
The quarterbacks have all moved up the pecking order since starter Travis Wilson’s season-ending injury. Schulz moved into the starting role last Saturday against Oregon.
This is his first full week of practice as the designated starter, and co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson likes what he has seen thus far.
“He’s had a good week. He’s a lot better today than yesterday, that’s how you want to progress through this thing,” Erickson said. “So he’s throwing it real well. He understands the game, so we’ve just got to see what happens Saturday. But we’re happy with how he’s practiced.”
So, too, is tight end Jake Murphy.
“I think he’s been awesome. In the team periods he’s been really good throwing the ball and making the right reads,” he said. “I think the team, as a whole, feels real comfortable with Adam going into this game.”
SHOWING SUPPORT: Erickson had plenty to say about Wilson’s toughness and how he is handling the head injury that will sideline him for at least the rest of the season.
“Travis is a man,” Erickson said. “You talk about a tough guy who has been through a lot of different things, particularly this thing because it’s really an unknown.”
Wilson was at practice assisting his teammates and is scheduled to accompany the squad to Pullman.
“He’s out here. He’s going to support the team,” Erickson said. “He’s going to do whatever he can to help us win. We all knew that before, but that obviously tells us a lot about what kind of person he is.”
GEARING UP: According to Whittingham, preparations for Saturday’s game at Washington State are progressing well. It’s a pivotal game for the Utes. At 4-6, they need a win to remain in bowl consideration.
“The practices have been good and implementation of the game plans has been smooth,” Whittingham said Wednesday. “So it’s been good so far.”
BACK IN ACTION: Whittingham confirmed that running back Kelvin York will be back in action this week. The senior did not play last week because of an undisclosed injury.
“He gives us an inside run presence,” Whittingham said. “He’s a downhill runner, a north-south guy.”
Whittingham noted York is a different style back than Bubba Poole and Lucky Radley and is someone that would like to get involved quite a bit this week.
FEELING GOOD: When Murphy broke his left wrist in the UCLA game on Oct. 3 he was supposed to miss the rest of the season. The junior made a more swift recovery, however, and returned to catch a touchdown pass last Saturday against Oregon.
“Right after the game it was a little sore but that goes away,” Murphy said about his wrist. “Your whole body is pretty sore after every game. So right now there’s no pain and that’s a positive. So it feels real good.”
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