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Utah's running back competition gets interesting

Published April 7, 2012 2:46 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The general line of thinking going into spring ball was returner John White and junior college transfer Kelvin York would be the Utes' main rushers. However, that line of thinking might be shifting, particularly after Saturday's scrimmage. Sophomore Harvey Langi rushed nine times for 42 yards and redshirt freshman Jarrell Oliver rushed 11 times for 49 yards in the scrimmage while York had eight carries for no gain. Both Langi and Oliver have been some of the surprises of spring ball, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. Langi in particular stood out to Whittingham, who said several times last year the former Bingham H.S. star needed to improve. "He is really starting to play the way we envisioned he would," he said. "We knew what kind of talent he had but maybe we had too high of expectations too soon. He is starting to gain confidence and play the way he did in high school." Offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said Langi's ability to catch the ball gives the Utes some options in how they use him. "He is very dynamic," he said. "We have the ability to flex him out and throw him the ball because he is a good receiver." As for Oliver, he has impressed the coaches with his good solid overall effort. "He is a grinder and playmaker," Johnson said. "That position is more about production than anything else and who can make yards and when we handed it to him he did a nice job." Overall Whittingham was satisfied with the scrimmage. "It was a good work day and we came out healthy," he said. "Guys were making plays. Harvey and Dres Anderson and the quarterbacks and offensive line all played well." Utah's defense was allowed to hit freshmen quarterbacks Travis Wilson and Chase Hansen. Hansen was 3-of-4 for 10 yards and a touchdown and Wilson was 9-of-11 for 106 yards and an interception and touchdown. Both quarterbacks welcomed the challenge of going against Utah's defense. "It's good being live and getting used to the pace," Wilson said. "Definitely the speed and they hit harder in college. It's a change I have to get used to." You can read more about the scrimmage on our website. - Lya Wodraska