The Utah Utes saw plenty of positives in Tuesday’s scrimmage. They just didn’t see enough of them consistently.
Utah’s running backs, backup quarterbacks and corners all had their moments in the live work, but overall the team still needs to find more consistency between now and when the Utes open the season against Utah State on Aug. 29, coach Kyle Whittingham said.
“Overall, it was a good scrimmage,” he said.
The biggest disappointing development happened early when quarterback Travis Wilson tweaked his left ankle and was held out the remainder of the scrimmage as a precaution.
Whittingham said the injury wasn’t serious and if it had been a game Wilson would have continued to play.
Wilson, who was 3 of 7 for 56 yards and a touchdown, jogged off the field at the end of the scrimmage without a limp.
“I think I did well,” he said. “I still wanted to complete a little bit more balls than I did, but I finished with a good touchdown.”
Freshman Conner Manning had the best showing in Wilson’s absence, going 10 for 20 for 116 yards and three touchdowns while Brandon Cox was 3 for 10 for 33 yards and a touchdown and Adam Schulz was 6 for 10 for 72 yards with an interception.
Whittingham said he wants to review film of the session, but his immediate impression from the live work was that none of the backups really separated himself to earn an edge on the No. 2 spot.
The situation is similar for the No. 2 running back position, where Karl Williams (eight carries, 27 yards), James Poole (seven carries, 39 yards and 1 touchdown) and Lucky Radley (four carries, 19 yards) are battling to back up starter Kelvin York.
York had 11 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown Tuesday.
“We have a good combination of Kelvin, Karl and Bubba [Poole] as a different group and Lucky is in there too,” Utah co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson said.
The Utes were also pleasantly surprised by the effort of 5-foot-9 freshman Dre’vian Young, a speedster who ended the scrimmage with a touchdown run of more than 60 yards.
The Utes had stopped keeping track of stats by then, but the coaches saw enough to be intrigued by Young.
“We’ll have to sit down and talk about that and see what he could add to us this year,” Erickson said.
The Utes held out most of their proven defensive players, focusing on the youngsters.
If the Utes were to play this week, Whittingham said the starting corner roles would be between freshman Justin Thomas, freshman Reginald Porter and senior Keith McGill.
“The corners came up with some plays, but they aren’t consistent enough,” Whittingham said.
What we learned • The Utes were happy with the way quarterback Travis Wilson played, especially the way he ran the red zone offense.
Who stood out • Running back Kelvin York continues to separate himself from the other backs.
What is up next • Utah’s final scrimmage is Saturday.