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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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Look for coaches to keep pressure on Utah's offense

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham got on his team early and stayed on the players as Utah made a fast tempo offense the focus of the first day of fall camp.

Whittingham gave the effort mixed reviews, noting it was a "sluggish," effort but he was happy with the quarterbacks' efforts.

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Get accustomed to such critiques from Whittingham. After an unsatisfying showing in 2012, Utah's offense is going to be under constant pressure to improve for 2013.

The good news is by most accounts the Utes have what they need to make strides.

Quarterback Travis Wilson, now 6-foot-6, 240, has more confidence than ever thanks to part of a season and a spring session behind him.

The offensive line is improved and is deep with about "17 or 18 bodies," according to Whittingham and the running backs are deep as well. Returner Kelvin York leads the group.

So can the offense deliver? It's too early to say, but one thing that has to happen is the receiving group must do a better job of hanging onto the ball in 2013 than in 2012.

Utah co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson said the Utes 'caught it Ok," on Monday. But the Utes need to be better than just Ok, they need to be solid.

Couple other notes from the day:

Erickson said he is impressed by Utah's offensive line. The line was a weakness in 2012 but is expected to be a strength in 2013 with Jeremiah Poutasi (6-5, 345), Jeremiah Tofaeono (6-2, 320), Vyncent Jones (6-3, 305), Junior Salt (6-2, 325) and Siaosi Aiono (6-2, 305) tabbed as starters.

"That is a big front," Erickson said. "Those guys are huge and they have gotten bigger and in better shape than they have been. I like how they have improved."

New body: Gionni Paul, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker who started seven of Miami's last eight games in 2012 was among those in uniform with the Utes. He is expected to redshirt the 2013 season according to NCAA transfer rules, unless NCAA sanctions expected to be handed down to Miami allow transfers to play immediately.

Paul had 61 tackles in nine games last year. He was suspended for the FSU game then parted ways with Miami at the end of the season.

Injury report: Offensive lineman Carlos Lozano (6-foot-6, 380) remains sidelined until he meets weight requirements to participate in camp, Whittingham said...Receiver Andre Lewis pulled a hamstring two-thirds of the way through Monday's session, Whittingham said.

Lewis is in the running for a starting role, but he won't get it if he is sidelined, Whittingham noted.

"If you want to help us out you have to be on the field," Whittingham said. "Being durable is part of being good like being fast, big and strong so hopefully he will be able to come back quickly."

- 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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