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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 open spring ball as promised by focusing on tempo

Day 1 is in the books for the Utes, who opened spring ball Tuesday with an emphasis on tempo under the watchful eye of new co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson.

"Everything is a lot faster for us," quarterback Travis Wilson said. "He has brought new ideas, new additions to the package we already have."

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Wilson earned good reviews from coach Kyle Whittingham who said Wilson's arm is noticeably stronger. Erickson also heaped praise on Wilson and backups Adam Schulz and freshman Brandon Cox.

"They all looked good throwing the ball around and I like the offensive front," he said. "It's kind of hard to tell with just underwear on, we really won't know until you put pads on, but the great thing is they have done a good job of developing the program here and work ethic and busting rear ends and that was evident on the first day."

Returner Kelvin York is penciled in as the starting running back but continues to be slowed by turf toe, Whittingham said.

Whittingham said Victor Spikes, who would have been a senior linebacker next year, has parted ways with the Utes based on a "mutual decision."

"There were some things we weren't happy about and we just thought it best for both to part ways," he said.

The secondary saw a lot of turnover from the offseason but Whittingham is encouraged by the efforts of the newcomers.

"I like the ethic of the guys battling for jobs and their focus and attention to detail," he said. "They are short on experience but we are played by what we are coming away with in spring ball."

- Lya Wodraska

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