We had some points of emphasis we wanted to improve on and I think we’ve done that thus far. I feel good about it. I really do. —Utah offensive coordinator Troy Taylor
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s offense has made progress in its second spring under Troy Taylor and his scheme. Head coach Kyle Whittingham says the Utes are “much further ahead” than a year ago. That is to be expected, he added, when putting in a new offense. The players are more comfortable the second time around.
Whittingham noted that the quarterbacks have been impressive throughout camp.
“Tyler Huntley’s performing very well, as well as Jason Shelley and Jack Tuttle,” Whittingham said. “So that’s a good situation.”
Overall, Taylor is pleased with the progression of the offense this spring.
“We had some points of emphasis we wanted to improve on and I think we’ve done that thus far,” Taylor said as the Utes prepare for the final two practices of spring camp. “I feel good about it. I really do.”
QUARTERBACKS: Huntley, Shelley and Tuttle give the Utes depth and talent at the position.
“I like all the quarterbacks,” Taylor said. “I think we can win with all of them.”
Taylor added that Huntley has had a fantastic spring. He also gave kudos to Shelley and Tuttle.
“I feel great about all of them,” Taylor said.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Taylor said the Utes really wanted to improve their protection.
“That was probably the No. 1 point of emphasis and they’ve done a great job of that,” Taylor explained. “Part of it is we’ve got more experienced guys, but we’ve busted their butt and they’ve done a great job against a team that brings a lot of pressure. So I feel good about it.”
Four starters are back from last season — senior left tackle Jackson Barton, center Lo Falemaka, senior right guard Jordan Agasiva and junior right tackle Darrin Paulo. Injuries have kept Paulo and junior Johnny Capra out of spring camp. Redshirt freshman Nick Ford is also a player of note.
TIGHT ENDS: Junior Jake Jackson has received a lot of praise. “He’s a really good football player,” Taylor said. “(I’m) excited about him.” Taylor added that sophomore Connor Haller is providing some depth and sophomore Bapa Falemaka has improved. Some young guys will also be brought into the mix this fall to help out.
RUNNING BACKS: "Things are good," Taylor said, "when they’re healthy." He noted that junior Armand Shyne is getting better and better every day. “It’s been a work in progress in terms of him becoming more comfortable,” said Taylor, who added that Shyne is trending in the right direction. Taylor expects junior Zack Moss to “be one of the better players in the conference.” Junior Devonta’e Henry-Cole, he continued, is also “pretty special, too.”
WIDE RECEIVERS: Although the Utes have a couple of guys that are a bit beat up and things have gotten a little thin, Taylor credited the receivers for battling through a time of year when they get tired and don’t move as fast. Despite the challenges, Taylor said the receivers, in general, have looked good.
Redshirt freshman Jaylen Dixon caught four touchdown passes in last week’s scrimmage. Junior Siaosi Mariner, sophomore Samson Nacua, freshman Bronson Boyd, senior Jameson Field, junior Demari Simpkins and sophomore Tyquez Hampton are other spring targets of note. Slot receiver Britain Covey, a sophomore, is back from his LDS Church mission and will rejoin the team for summer conditioning.