Summer camp has ended for the Utah football team, and now the Utes are back into their regular-season schedule, only with two weeks to prepare for their opening opponent, Michigan, instead of one.
For the Utes, Wednesday afternoon's practice was like a Monday practice during the season, getting acquainted with their opponent in a lighter practice, with a more grueling practice set for today. They'll taper off the next three days and then start all over again Monday.
"This afternoon was a transition day for us, like a Monday during the season," quarterback Brian Johnson said. "Tomorrow will be a grinder, like a Tuesday practice. It's similar to a practice week. The second round is next week. We get two shots at it."
After the last scrimmage of camp at the stadium in the morning, coach Kyle Whittingham was happy with the afternoon practice at McCarthey Field.
"It was a good transition," Whittingham said. "We've gone away from crossover drills working offense against defense and more into scout work to simulate the Michigan offense and defense. Our offense and defense see less of each other now."
Defensive captain Brice McCain said he has been studying Michigan since the end of last season and is excited that is the Utes' focus now.
"Everything is Michigan now special teams, offense and defense everything is Michigan," McCain said. "I know them; I know their personnel. I've been studying them all winter and all summer."
GETTING HEALTHY: Things are getting much brighter on the injury front for the Utes.
"We're starting to get guys back and are on the upswing on getting those bumps and bruises healed," Whittingham said. "We're getting as healthy as we could hope to be right now."
After sitting out the morning scrimmage after bruising his thigh a couple of days ago, Brent Casteel was back in action for the afternoon practice. Darrell Mack, who had a sore foot earlier in the week, played in the scrimmage and practiced in the afternoon, and Matt Asiata is getting close to 100 percent.
Asiata told reporters he was "91 percent" and when Whittingham was told that, he jokingly said, "I'd say he's 92.5 percent" and added "hopefully we'll have no more setbacks with him."
The biggest concern is backup defensive tackle Aaron Tonga (knee), who Whittingham hopes to have back by Monday.
YOUNG BUCK: So why has former BYU All-American Jason Buck been hanging out with his son at Ute football practices occasionally this summer?
His son, Tyson, a former all-stater for Lone Peak High School, is considering walking on the Utes' football team next year. The young Buck is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker who returned from an LDS mission and is looking at both Utah and BYU as possibilities.
The elder Buck said just because he went there, BYU is no guarantee as his son's choice. He said he knows both Kyle Whittingham and Gary Andersen, the Utes' defensive coordinator whom he played with at Ricks College, and thinks his son would fit in well as a linebacker in Utah's 4-3 defense.EXTRA POINTS: Whittingham said the original plan was to redshirt freshman running back Sausan Shakerin, but he's been so impressive that "right now we're planning to use him." ... Still no news on receiver Aiona Key, of whom Whittingham said, "We've moved on." ... Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig says he'd ideally like to have seven or eight receivers in his offense. The top seven right now are Brent Casteel, Bradon Godfrey, Freddie Brown, Jereme Brooks, David Reed, John Peel and Elijah Wesson. Freshman quarterback Devonte Christopher could be the eighth as he makes a transition to receiver for this season only.
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