Junior wide receiver Kenneth Scott addressed his team at the middle of the field after Tuesday’s practice.
Forty yards away, onlookers could hear almost every word.
The gist was that the intensity has to improve.
Playing in soggy jerseys with wet footballs and numb hands, the Ute offense looked at times like regular people do when they’re spending 2 1/2 hours in the elements: miserable.
Travis Wilson was probably the sharpest of the quarterbacks, taking off multiple times for what might’ve been decent gains in a world where quarterbacks are allowed to run and be hit. But saying he was the best QB wasn’t saying much Tuesday. The same goes for the running backs — redshirt freshman Troy McCormick had a few mid-length gains and caught two swing passes for big yards, but the Utes struggled to consistently move the chains no matter which backs were in (often, there were two).
After practice, head coach Kyle Whittingham said there were no standouts on offense, although he was a fan of Scott’s lecture.
"He hit the nail on the head," Whittingham said. "Offensively, we were very flat today. It wasn’t very hard to diagnose, but he stepped up and said that can’t happen and we’ve got to get that changed."
OFFENSIVE HIGHLIGHT » Lately, senior Davion Orphey has stuck to senior Dres Anderson like cookie dough on the side of a bowl. Anderson has had to work hard for his highlights, and he fought off Orphey to snatch a well-placed home-run pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Conner Manning.
DEFENSIVE HIGHLIGHT » You’re not supposed to hit quarterbacks in spring, but junior defensive tackle/end Jason Fanaika got off on a technicality. The Utah State transfer crashed into junior running back Devontae Booker and Manning at the point of exchange to force a fumble.
STANDOUT » Coach Whittingham said there were no offensive standouts but he can be forgiven if he was trying to prove a point about the lackluster effort of the collective unit. Senior tight end Westlee Tonga made a couple of SportsCenter-worthy grabs — one on a pass from Schulz that was between his shoulders and required him to turn his neck straight back to find it. Tonga also caught a sideline pass in traffic from Wilson and a TD pass from Wilson during red zone drills.
KEEP AN EYE ON » Viliseni Fauonuku was back Tuesday. The junior is one of three players — sophomore Stevie Tu’ikolovatu and senior Sese Ianu are the others — who entered camp as the likely contenders to start at defensive tackle. Tu’ikolovatu and Ianu are missing camp due to injuries, and Fauonuku had spent the previous week in the pit. "He’s had that calf injury that he’s been battling," Whittingham said. "It’s been ongoing, and hopefully we’re over the hump with that. We’ll find out."
QUOTE OF THE DAY » Since much of what Scott said can’t be repeated on a family newspaper blog, here’s Whittingham: "A lot of guys were more worried about how cold it was going to be than practicing the right way."
BONUS » Representatives of the offense and defense, respectively, sophomore receiver Delshawn McClellon dusted senior Wykie Freeman in a 40-yard dash to end practice. Not sure what he won besides the esteem of his colleagues.
— Matthew Piper
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