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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utes considering leaving Tonga at tight end

Westlee Tonga, a junior who was moved from tight end to linebacker then back to tight end due to a lack of depth at the position, just might stay with the offense when spring ball is over, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said following Thursday's practice.

The Utes are extremely deep at the position, but have three tight ends sitting out spring ball with injuries in Kendrick Moeai, Dallin Rogers and David Rolf all recovering from injuries.

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Tonga, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior, was moved to linebacker this spring, but returned to the offense when Rolf went out with a calf injury.

"He has looked so good as a tight end we might have to re-think that once spring is over," Whittingham said of plans to use Tonga on the defensive side.

Whittingham added the Utes are pleased with the development of Jake Murphy, who is penciled in as the starter at tight end.

"He has made the most of the opportunities he is getting," he said.

Running back Kelvin York sat out Thursday's practice with a knee injury. Whittingham hopes to have him on the field for Saturday's scrimmage, adding he and the rest of the backs have to improve in their blitz pickup.

Scrimmage rundown: Whittingham said the Utes will have about 80 snaps in Saturday's scrimmage. "It will be similar to what we saw last week but not as long," he said. "Last week we had 97 snaps which was probably too many."

Just like last week, proven players such as defensive lineman Star Lotulelei and running back John White will be held out of the action for precautionary reasons.

- Lya Wodraska

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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