I set high expectations for myself. I’m always pushing myself to be the best I can be. —Freshman QB Jack Tuttle
SALT LAKE CITY — Spring has sprung for the Utah Utes. After Saturday’s Red-White Game at Rice-Eccles Stadium, coach Kyle Whittingham said the 15 practices were all positive. He added that the team made progress in every area during camp.
As such, Whittingham said it served as “a good springboard into summer conditioning.”
The Utes do so with a definite pecking order at quarterback. Whittingham confirmed that returning starter Tyler Huntley held on to the top spot.
“He’s coming out of spring as the clear No. 1,” said Whittingham, who later added that there’s no doubt about it and praised the junior’s “dynamic” running ability.
Huntley credits film study and working on his craft for taking his game to another level.
“I feel like I progressed a little bit more,” he said. “And I feel like this team progressed tremendously and it’s going to be a good year.”
Utah has depth at quarterback with redshirt freshman Jason Shelley and true freshman Jack Tuttle currently backing Huntley.
“Those two are going to be fighting for the two. It’s going to be a good battle between them,” Huntley said. “They’ve just been showing all spring that they could compete. They just continue to come out every day and make plays. They’re doing a good job of that.”
In the spring game, Shelley completed 11 of 14 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Tuttle was 8 of 14 for 86 yards and a score, but he was intercepted twice. Huntley wound up completing 6 of 12 for 72 yards with one touchdown. Drew Lisk, the other quarterback that saw action, went 8 of 12 for 133 yards with two scoring strikes.
“They made good decisions and aside from the interceptions I thought it was a good outing by the quarterbacks,” Whittingham said.
Aside from noting Huntley’s position in the pecking order, Whittingham said Shelley performed well and that Tuttle had “a ton of potential and a high ceiling.” Lisk, he added, also did some good things.
Now comes summer conditioning.
Whittingham said the quarterbacks need to keep getting better and can never be satisfied. He encouraged them to get in the film room and understand what they did wrong and make those corrections.
And that’s not all. Whittingham wants them to continue to have complete command of the offense and get together with the receivers to keep the timing.
The bottom line?
“Be ready to hit the ground running in fall camp,” Whittingham said.
Huntley noted that the quarterbacks will continue to watch film, learn from mistakes and just get bigger over the summer. Tuttle added that they all need to put on some weight. He said it’s also about focusing and burying their heads in the playbook in an effort to keep on getting better.
“I set high expectations for myself. I’m always pushing myself to be the best I can be,” Tuttle explained. “I’d say overall as an offense (spring has) been fantastic. But for myself I just need to keep on getting better and keep on growing.”
For obvious reasons, continual improvement is sought by all the quarterbacks. Summer conditioning is more than just working out.
“We’re going to keep doing our little drills to keep ourselves, like, in football mode. We’re not going to have any days off, really,” Shelley said. “We’re going to keep working and keep grinding and we’re just going to go into fall camp real smooth.”