Utah football: Competition heats up as Utes head into first scrimmage
There hasn't been much separation among Utah's players, but that could change as of Thursday when the Utes have their first scrimmage.
The Utes plan to get in about 90 snaps and will look particularly at the running back, linebacker and offensive line spots where several players are competing for time.
Running back John White and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei are among those who won't participate in the live work.
Jordan Wynn, Jon Hays and Travis Wilson will all get their share of snaps. The battle for the backup role has been an interesting one, with Hays, who started the last nine games last year, doing well enough to hold off Wilson, the freshman who had a very strong spring.
"Jon has had an outstanding camp and has an edge in that battle right now," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "They'll both continue to get reps and see how they grade out."
The other interesting spot to watch is at kicker, where junior Nick Marsh is ahead of returner Coleman Petersen, who has had trouble being consistent.
The good and the bad
Utah's starters looked strong in camp Wednesday, but it was another story for the backups, who drew the ire of Whittingham.
"They didn't do a good job with the block schemes," he said. "The center-quarterback exchange wasn't good, something basic as the c-q exchange wasn't good so there really was no bright spot with the twos. Without Vyncent (Jones) and Miles (Mason), that necessitated putting some guys in with the twos that have little or no experience, but like I said, they have to get in their playbooks and get up to speed. It's not a crisis and it's something to be expected in a way, but still when you drop two you have to step up and perform."
Jones and Mason are offensive linemen who continue to be sidelined with injuries and could be out for several weeks.
Receiver Anthony Denham (knee tendinitis) returned to practice Wednesday. Offensive lineman Miles Mason (high ankle sprain) had his left foot in a boot and was on crutches. He isn't expected to return for two to three weeks.