SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the ones are not going to get a lot of reps, if any, in the first spring scrimmage Saturday (10 a.m.-noon) at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“The majority of the live reps will be the twos and threes and that’s going to be our philosophy for the entire spring,” Whittingham explained. “We’re backing off on the live work. You’ve got to get to the season healthy. There’s work that has to be done and you have to be physical and you have to get a certain amount of live work, but it’s much less now than it used to be. I can tell you that for certain.”
The situational scrimmage will consist of 80 plays or so and provide an extensive look at the offense under new coordinator Andy Ludwig. The quarterbacks will be off-limits to tacklers.
Whittingham said the Utes practiced well on Tuesday. However, he did say there were too many drops.
“We’ve got to get that cleaned up,” Whittingham said. “But these guys have had seven really good practices. We’re right, just about, at the halfway mark — seven down, eight to go. We’ve made good progress, but a lot of progress still has to be made in these eight. But I think we’re in a good spot right now.”
The offense, he explained, is about halfway. The plan is for the rest of it to be installed by the end of camp.
SO FAR, SO GOOD: Senior defensive end Bradlee Anae, who chose to come back rather than enter the NFL Draft, said the Utes are making progress in replacing graduate linebackers Cody Barton and Chase Hansen, as well as safeties Corrion Ballard and Marquise Blair, as starters on the defense.
“Oh yeah, especially with the linebacker spot. I feel comfortable with the guys who are going to be starting this year,” said Anae, who has similar thoughts about the secondary. “We need improvement as a whole, but I’m comfortable with the guys who are stepping up.”
PRO DAY: Representatives from all 32 NFL teams are expected to attend Thursday’s “Pro Day” with the Utes. Scheduled participants include Jordan Agasiva, Aaron Amaama, Anthony Armstrong, Corrion Ballard, Cody Barton, Jackson Barton, Marquise Blair, Lo Falemaka, Jameson Field, Matt Gay, Chase Hansen, Alani Havili-Katoa and Mitch Wishnowsky.
Whittingham said there are a lot of guys the NFL likes. Same goes for next year. Because of space limitations, Utah’s “Pro Day” is closed to the public.
HEADING OUT: Two players who topped Utah’s early spring depth chart (that did not include injured projected starters) have left the Utes and entered into the NCAA’s transfer portal. Senior running back Armand Shyne and sophomore offensive lineman Mo Unutoa are no longer with the program.
Whittingham said that Shyne wanted more of a workload than he’ll get as a backup to Zack Moss. He’ll get his degree this spring and be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.5 comments on this story
“It’s the decision he made and I hope it works out for him,” Whittingham said. “He was a great team guy and a very good part of our program but he just wants to go to a place that will feature him.”
Shyne rushed for 512 yards and five touchdowns last season.
Unutoa, meanwhile, appeared in just one game in 2018 after redshirting in his first year at Utah.
“I wish he would have stayed, obviously, but he just felt like he needed a fresh start somewhere and so that was his decision,” Whittingham said.