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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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Several players shine for Utes in their first day in pads

Utah's first day in pads was a good chance for many of the newcomers to prove their worth in what coach Kyle Whittingham likes to call "real football," but it was a veteran who stood out the most, even when he wasn't involved in the live work.

"John White has been good, exceptional, the last couple of days," Whittingham enthused after Tuesday's practice. "He has been running the football very well and the blitz pickup is excellent there. I like how all the running backs are looking in general."

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Freshman Jarrell Oliver made several nice moves Tuesday and Lucky Radley, a sophomore out of Inglewood, Calif., has had a strong camp as well.

Whittingham said he will wait until the second scrimmage before the Utes make some decisions on the running back depth chart so he can see how the backs handle the live work.

The Utes won't use White much in the live work to keep him healthy, Whittingham said.

"We want to be smart with him," he said.

One of the surprises in camp has been safety Terrell Reese, Quade Chappuis' backup at strong safety along with junior Michael Walker. Reese played in just seven games last year, seeing time mostly on special teams, but seems to have the edge over Walker right now as Whittingham said he has improved immensely.

"Right now Quade Chappuis would be the guy opposite Eric Rowe if we played today, but those others are going to get their opportunities," Whittingham said.

Another player who had a solid day was receiver Sean Fitzgerald. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior has a lot of talent but has had trouble staying healthy. He played on special teams in 2010 and earned time in six games last year after missing several with injuries, but will be in the regular rotation this year if he can stay injury free.

Several Utes sat out Tuesday's practice with what could be long-term injuries.

Starting right tackle Miles Mason is out with a boot on his left foot and fellow offensive lineman Vyncent Jones remains out with a pulled hamstring.

Whittingham said both players could be out two to three weeks.

"It gives a couple other guys an opportunity to get some reps and see what they can do," he said.

Unfortunately, the Utes aren't very deep along the offensive line. Freshman Daniel Nielson will see most of the time at right tackle in Mason's absence since junior college transfer Carlos Lozano is still working down to playing weight.

The 6-foot-6, 385-pound Lozano has lost 25 pounds but still has a ways to go, according to Whittingham.


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