There were a lot of smiles after Utah's first day of practice Thursday as most judged the opening day a productive one.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who has done more than his share of TV time recently, said it was good to get back on the football field and get down to the business of coaching.
He wasn't the only one with that sentiment, quarterback Jordan Wynn was thankful to be back on the field after missing spring ball.
"There was no pain or soreness," he said of his surgically repaired shoulder. "I know they are counting my throws and stuff, but I feel great today so I'll go with it."
Wynn isn't allowed to throw more than 100 passes a practice. He checked in at about 80 Thursday. Those were enough for offensive coordinator Norm Chow to judge Wynn as 'terrific.'
"When we had a little break, he said, 'It is still football, isn't it?' Chow said. "And it is."
The game might be the same, but Utah's players admitted their is a different feeling as they prepare for the Pac-12.
"The coaches always do a good job of making sure we stay in the present," center Tevita Stevens said. "But it does feel different. We know it's a different task and challenge ahead of us and it gives us motivation."
Defensive end Nate Fakahafua, the running backs and Wynn all drew mentions for their work.
"It was very good to get Jordan out there," Whittingham said. "He had a natural throwing motion and that is what you are looking for, that and good velocity on the ball."
The most disappointing development of the day was a pulled hamstring suffered by receiver Anthony Denham.
"It was the major downer of the day," Whittingham said. "He'll be re-evaluated and we'll see how long the down time will be."
A few players missed the session and others will miss Friday's sessions for finals, Whittingham said. However, everyone should be in camp by Saturday.
The Utes are allowed 105 players on the roster during the current practice sessions. That means for now sophomore safety Chris Washington, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, is not on the roster to make room for others. He is expected to join the team closer to the season.
Added to Utah's roster are fullbacks Shawn Asiata and Tauni Vakapuna. The two didn't participate in spring ball but decided to return to the Utes.
Whittingham said both could have roles.
"They're both very physical," he said.&n
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