Utah campus notes

Published: Thursday, Aug. 10 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

So far, so good After three days of camp, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham says the Utes are right on track.
Though noting there are still a lot of unknowns, he's pleased with the effort — calling it "the key to the whole thing."
Instead of split sessions, the team will hold its first group practice this morning. The Utes will shift to full pads on Friday before scrimmaging a day later.
"Primary evaluations are done in the live work," Whittingham said of Utah's three scheduled scrimmages. "They're all big as far as moving up and down the depth chart."
Everything is evaluated, he added, but live work is judged as a premium.

With the territory

Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and Utah quarterbacks Brian Johnson, Tommy Grady and Brett Ratliff are taking the starting position battle in stride. They know the media spotlight will be shining bright until a decision is made.
"It'll wear on us, I'm sure, but that's part of our job. That's part of playing that high-profile position and coaching that high-profile position," Ludwig said.
"You've got to deal with it. It's our responsibility."

Just for kicks

Whittingham and the Utah coaching staff would like to find some help for do-it-all kicker Louie Sakoda. The sophomore is a capable place-kicker, punter and kickoff specialist.
"Our hopes are that someone will emerge and take either the punting or the place kicking off his plate."
The most likely candidates to help avoid wear-and-tear on Sakoda's leg, Whittingham noted, are Anthony Santella (punter) and Ben Vroman (kicker).

Another commitment

Louis Finner, an offensive guard out of Plano East High School in Texas is the latest recruit to give Utah and early commitment. The senior-to-be joins defensive end James Alono (Murray HS), cornerback Josh Broughton (Citrus CC, Calif.), quarterback Griffin Robles (Spanish Fork HS) and wide receiver Dallin Rogers (Union Mine HS, Calif.) in accepting scholarship offers from the Utes. They'll be able to sign letters of intent after the upcoming season.

Extra points

Johnson and Grady participated in the morning session Wednesday, while Ratliff took his reps in the afternoon . . . . . . Whittingham said nobody has "nailed down" the starting center job. He considers juniors Kyle Gunther and Jeremy Inferrera as 1A and 1B at this point in camp . . . Senior safety Eric Weddle is one of 33 candidates for the Jim Thorpe Award, which honors the nation's top defensive back. Weddle, the reigning Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, is also on the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Award, Chuck Bednarik Award and Lott Trophy.

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