Utah football PM notes — Isaac Asiata talks OL, Dres Anderson dominates (VIDEO)

Published August 13, 2014 8:04 pm
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In the afternoon practices of two-a-days, only Kyle Whittingham is available. But I thought I'd share an interview leftover from the first scrimmage with Isaac Asiata to kick off tonight's evening notes:

Asiata, who at 6-foot-4 and 316 pounds plays both right tackle and right guard, explains the difference between his two positions thusly:

"I think the physicality is more of a factor when you're playing guard. You've got to have that nasty, hard-nosed football attitude when you're playing deep in the trenches. Tackle, you still gotta have have that mindset, but it's more finesse. You've got to be quick on your feet. You've got to be able to see the defense as a whole rather than your one guy or just the guy in the box."

Which would he rather play? His answer is diplomatic: "Wherever is best for the team."

Asiata confirmed that coaches have told him, J.J. Dielman and Leka Uhatafe that the best two of them will like start along the right side. Asiata is the swingman of the group, because if it's Dielman, he'll play guard, and if it's Uhatafe, he'll play tackle.

While he felt the Utes did relatively well in Tuesday's scrimmage, he acknowledged there is a sense of urgency to get the starting lineup sorted out. While he's happy to play either position, rotating between them isn't exactly easy. He'd rather play one spot.

"It's hard to keep switching back and forth because you've got to have that chemistry with your tackle or your guard," he said. "We want to be able to build that chemistry."

It seems likely the Utes will have a good idea of their starting linemen after Saturday's scrimmage. Asiata said he's looking forward to finding out if he's among them.

Anderson exposes secondary • Maybe Dres Anderson knew the media had just started watching, and he had the urge to perform.

Whether his showmanship instinct kicked or not, Anderson was impressive on Wednesday afternoon, cruising through his routes without much serious coverage on him as the Utes wrapped a non-padded practice with team drills and red zone situations.

Anderson had at least four touchdowns in the media-observed portion of practice, two of which were more than 40 yards long and only a minute or two apart. He caught a perfectly on target sideline pass from Travis Wilson before catching one from Kendal Thompson fading toward the corner.

A returning all-Pac-12 player, Anderson is expected to be a weapon this fall. But the holes are concerning considering the Utes just lost corner Reggie Porter for the year. Whittingham mentioned Travonne (newly christened "Boobie") Hobbs, Monte Seabrook and Casey Hughes as freshmen who might step up in Porter's absence.

Not an inspiring afternoon to imagine the Utes looking so youthful in the secondary.

"He got hot there for a while, and he's a tough receiver to cover," Whittingham said. "Good for the offense, not so good for the D."

Utes grinding nine days in • Getting to a certain point in camp, many coaches worry about hitting the proverbial wall. The Utes have gone through nine days of fall camp, but more than half of their camp practices lie ahead of them.

Perhaps Wednesday's roughly one-hour practice was a bit of a sign that the Utes - particularly in light of injuries or players they are attempting to keep healthy - are dialing back. Although Utah has a higher tempo that allows for more reps in shorter periods of time, there does seem to be a bit of caution in recent practices with Idaho State two weeks away.

Whittingham said he hasn't worried too much about fatigue yet, although it's something to keep an eye on.

"We'll push through it, and I'm confident these guys will handle it well," he said. "You gotta be aware of giving a little bit of break here and there in the meeting room and on the field. ... The volume of work is still what it's been or even more so, but the length of time on the field has been less."

Extra quick hits • The defense may deserve some benefit of the doubt: Whittingham said defensive end Nate Orchard and safeties Brian Blechen and Tevin Carter were rested this afternoon during team drills. ... Among the freshmen Whittingham was pleased with Wednesday were safety Marcus Williams, receiver Kenric Young and lineman Jackson Barton. ... Running back Devontae Booker has been in the doghouse since he suddenly came down with ball security issues in the past week, but Whittingham said he liked Booker's practices on Wednesday. ... Working on punt return were Kaelin Clay, Bubba Poole and Travonne Hobbs.

Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon

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