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Utah football: Utes need consistency along O-line

Published August 15, 2012 11:17 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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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 Utah Utes want consistency along their offensive line in order for it to play well. Problem is, time is running short for the Utes to get that kind of play in camp.

Latu Heimuli, a junior who was moved to right guard, sat out part of Wednesday's practice with a sore foot.

He is the latest offensive lineman to be sidelined with injuries, joining Miles Mason (foot), Sam Brenner (shoulder) and Vyncent Jones (hamstring).

While most of the injuries are minor, they are enough to make coach Kyle Whittingham concerned as the Utes near the end of camp.

"The offensive line is like the secondary," he said. "They need to play together, sooner rather than later, but I don't see that happening before Monday."

The tackles continue to be a concern with freshmen Jeremiah Poutasi and Kala Friel listed on one side and junior Percy Taumoelau and Mason listed at the other.

"Both of them have improved," Whittingham said of the tackle spots, "but we still have a lot of ground that has to be covered."

No changes

Not much has changed with Utah's depth chart after the coaches reviewed Tuesday's scrimmage, including the quarterback situation, where freshman Travis Wilson is pushing returner Jordan Wynn.

"Jordan is still No. 1," Whittingham said. "Like I said from the onset, it's a competition, but it doesn't mean it's a controversy. Jordan, until someone unseats him, is our guy."

Whittingham said there was no separation among the linebackers, with five or six guys competing for the spots.

Overall he saw improvement from the first scrimmage.

"The route structures were cleaner and the run game was good and we made fewer mental mistakes," he said. "Defensively, we made fewer mistakes, but we still made too many."

New RB

The Utes received a commitment from an interesting running back Wednesday. Charlie Salesi Eteaki, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound running back out of Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif., committed to the Utes as part of their 2013 class. He had offers from Nevada and Sacramento State, but may not have been a hot commodity for other Pac-12 schools since he missed much of the season with a broken collarbone.

He rushed for 494 yards and four touchdowns on 60 carries in the five games he played.

Captains named

Defensive linemen Dave Kruger and Star Lotulelei were named team captains along with receiver Luke Matthews and running back John White.

Whittingham said the team takes its selection of captains seriously because they set the tone for the team.

"It's my experience in coaching that if you have to have all the leadership and experience coming from the coaches, you probably aren't going to be very good."