Utah football notes: A laundry list of things to get done in Tuesday's scrimmage

Published: Monday, Aug. 11 2014 5:55 p.m. MDT

Coach Kyle Whittingham is interviewed following University of Utah football practice in Salt Lake City, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said there’s a “laundry list” of things for the Utes to get done in Tuesday morning’s scrimmage at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The top priority, he explained, is to get a great evaluation on the quarterbacks. Juniors Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson are currently getting the most reps. Redshirt freshmen Conner Manning and Brandon Cox are next in line.

“That’s job one — is to continue to sort that out,” Whittingham said. “This will be our extensive look and body of work to get that done.”

Whittingham also mentioned the tempo of the offense, expressing a desire to see the Utes play fast enough in a game-like situation. Other pressing matters, he identified, involve solidifying the right side of the offensive line, getting a gauge on where the defense is on tackling (since there hasn’t been a lot of live work in camp thus far), and finding out more about the young guys.

The scrimmage will be a combination of situations (four-minute offense, two-minute offense, coming out offense) and a lot of just playing football. Whittingham estimated the Utes will run 70-100 plays and try to get everybody on tape.

Several players, however, may be held out for precautionary reasons.

All preseason camp practices and scrimmages are closed to the public.

TOUGH TIMES: The second week of camp features three double days and a pair of scrimmages.

“These are what I always say are the dog days of fall camp — when the newness of fall camp has completely worn off,” Whittingham said. “There’s still a lot of practices left and you’re right in the middle of it. You do find out who’s got the will and the determination to get through it and who kind of wilts when the going gets tough.”

SORTING IT OUT: Whittingham offered a little insight into the competition between Wilson and Thompson.

“It’s not quite apples and oranges, but it's different,” Whittingham said. “If Kendal is the guy, then the offense will have a facelift to accentuate what he does, and if Travis is the guy, we’ll go in that direction.”

NEUHEISEL’S TAKE: Former college football coach Rick Neuheisel of the Pac-12 Networks was on hand for the morning practice and took note of offensive weapons like Kaelin Clay, Delshawn McClellon, Kenneth Scott, Dres Anderson and Dominique Hatfield.

Dave Christensen’s offense wants to move fast. Certainly it helps when there’s great skill,” Neuheisel said before going over the personnel. “… To play up-tempo you’ve got to have numbers and you have to have guys that can do things in space. It looks as if they’ve got that.”

SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED: When it comes to his job, Whittingham said the opportunity to award scholarships to deserving walk-ons — many he explained have busted their butts for one, two of three years — may be as good as it gets. The team appreciates it as well. Whittingham said the reaction to news of scholarship awards at meetings is very animated.

Initial walk-ons now on scholarship this fall include kicker Andy Phillips, offensive lineman Nick Nowakowski, as well as defensive linemen Jason Fanaika and Clint Shepard.

It’s great, and it’s not something that we offer. They earn it,” said Whittingham, who may award one or two more scholarships before camp is complete.

MUSS DISCOVERY: Senior wide receiver Ryan Petersen, who was the MVP of the past two MUSS spring flag football games, has joined the Utes as a walk-on.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere