Utes set to close out spring camp with Saturday's Red-White Game

Published: Friday, April 18 2014 11:43 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes offensive coordinator Dave Christensen instructs during spring practice in Salt Lake City Tuesday, March 18, 2014.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah quarterback Travis Wilson reeled off a list of objectives for Saturday’s Red-White Game at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The junior is hopeful the Utes will be efficient, have fun and keep perfecting what they’ve been working on all spring.

“It’s definitely going to be a really good environment,” Wilson added. “I know there’s going to be a lot of fans there and everything.”

After 14 practices, the Utes close out spring ball with the annual game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Like Wilson, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is also looking for clean execution in the camp finale. However, he noted that the teams have been split evenly. Besides rosters that are mixed-and-matched, the defense will be watered down so there will be no exotic blitzes or anything like that.

Whittingham said the objective is to get almost every player in the game.

“Everybody who has been practicing during the spring that’s healthy — other than the ones that we have chosen to hold out — get a chance to play at least one quarter to show what they can do,” he explained. “So we keep things simple.”

There may be another reason as well. Like the other 11 teams in the conference, Utah’s spring game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks. Whittingham, though, downplayed the notion that it leads to keeping things close to the vest.

“I think you can always learn something, particularly personnel-wise watching the athletes that they have. The schemes usually are watered down in the spring game,” Whittingham said. “Everyone approaches it a little bit differently. But I think a general statement would be most people don’t show everything in the spring game and you learn some things. But obviously you’re not going to learn everything in the spring game.”

As for the Utes, Whittingham acknowledged they would be a little vanilla on Saturday — especially on the defensive end.

“We’re going to be very basic on defense,” he said. “But offensively, with where we’re at with our new elements to the scheme, we need to continue to rep those.”

Wilson and redshirt freshman Conner Manning will be the starting quarterbacks. Manning, Adam Schulz and Brandon Cox are going to be live to tackles. Whittingham said the staff will get a better evaluation that way and it’s a luxury Utah has this year.

“We have an abundance of quarterbacks,” Whittingham said, while noting the Utes’ depth at the position. “If we just had one or two that would be a different story.”

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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