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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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Will there be a quarterback battle for Utes in camp?

We're going to take the next few days and break down Utah by position. Today, we're going to talk quarterbacks.

Sophomore Travis Wilson went 3-4 as the starter last year after Jordan Wynn was forced to retire due to injuries.

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One of the interesting developments out of spring ball was the improved play of backup Adam Schulz, a sophomore out of Muskego, Wis., who joined the team as a walk-on.

Schulz has a very strong arm, a trait he memorably demonstrated last year when at the end of a practice session he was able to throw the ball out of the south end of Rice-Eccles Stadium.

He has also gained respect among his teammates and continued to assert himself as a leader during summer workouts, according to players.

So could there be a quarterback battle this fall? Don't count on it, at least not for the starting role.

Don't be surprised if Utah's coaches talk up Schulz and freshman Brandon Cox, an athletic quarterback who also had a strong spring, to keep the fire lit under Wilson.

However, the experience Wilson earned last year is invaluable and by all accounts he followed a solid spring with a good summer.

One of the biggest reasons the Utes are hopeful they can surprise some teams this year is because of Wilson, who, given the situation in which he was thrown into, played as well as anyone could have hoped.

It would take some serious steps back by him for there to be a legitimate quarterback battle.

Coach Kyle Whittingham said during the Pac-12 media days that it is Wilson's job to lose, and I just don't see any reason why he'd lose it.

The more interesting battle could be for the backup role.

Freshmen Conner Manning and Micah Thomas will also get a lot of snaps at the start of camp, but Whittingham said he wants the quarterback reps to be cut down to three guys then two relatively soon so the Utes can focus on getting ready for the season.

Who that second guy might be is up for grabs.

Look for the contest to be between Schulz and Cox since they were here for spring, but don't forget the others too.

As Whittingham said, the Utes feel good about their quarterbacks, but "they're all just freshmen and sophomores," he said.

- 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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