Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Utah football: QB Conner Manning shines in 2nd scrimmage (video)

Whittingham says it’s too early to evaluate QB performances.

First Published Apr 12 2014 02:34 pm • Last Updated Apr 13 2014 02:05 pm

Redshirt freshman quarterback Conner Manning said his midweek move to No. 2 on the depth chart didn’t change his approach. He’s not a made man, and he never will be.

Not even after the 6-foot-1 Orange County native — whose redshirt made for water cooler fodder when the Ute offense struggled last season — went 9-for-12 in Saturday’s scrimmage and threw for three touchdowns. His closest competitor, junior Adam Schulz, was a ho-hum 6-for-13 for 34 yards. But head coach Kyle Whittingham said it was still too soon to evaluate the quarterbacks’ performances — coaches will check the tape for broken route structures and the like — and that his immediate best guess was that junior starter Travis Wilson outshone them all.

At a glance

Statistics from Saturday’s scrimmage

Passing » Wilson 19-41-0, 184 yards, 2 TDs; Manning 9-12-0, 116 yards, 3 TDs; Schulz 6-13-0, 34 yards

Rushing » McCormick 5 carries, 134 yards, 1 TD; Young 5 carries, 20 yards; Poole 7 carries, 16 yards; Booker 5 carries, 11 yards; Wilson 3 carries, 11 yards; Schulz 1 carry, 11 yards, Manning 2 carries, -9 yards

Receiving » Anderson 8 catches, 111 yards, 1 TD; Moeai 3 catches, 66 yards; Tonga 5 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD; Allen 3 catches, 30 yards, 1 TD; McClellon 3 catches, 22 yards, 1 TD; Fakailoatonga 4 catches, 20 yards, 1 TD; McCormick 2 catches, 9 yards; Norwood 1 catch, 7 yards; Handley 1 catch, 5 yards; Young 1 catch, 4 yards; Booker 1 catch, -1 yards; Poole 2 catches, -2 yards

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Whether it’s season, offseason, summer, fall, whatever," Manning said. "Competition never stops."

Wilson wasn’t particularly efficient at 19-for-41, but he had no turnovers and marched the Utes 184 yards for a touchdown apiece to his favorite targets this spring, seniors Dres Anderson and Westlee Tonga. Anderson finished with eight receptions for 111 yards, while Tonga had five catches for 62 yards. Junior tight end Evan Moeai added three receptions for 62 yards.

"I feel perfect," Wilson said afterward. "My body feels healthy, and I’ve definitely got to gain a couple pounds, but other than that I feel really good."

Unlike Wilson, Manning and Schulz were "live" for the first part of practice and thus fair game for pass rushers. Manning’s touchdown passes came to sophomores Delshawn McClellon, Siale Fakailoatonga (red zone work) and Brian Allen (two-minute drill).

"He’s so precise with his throwing," Anderson said. "He reads defenses well and he knows where to throw it and when to throw it. That’s his advantage."

Redshirt freshman Brandon Cox received only a few reps against the No. 3 defense at the tail end of practice and was intercepted by senior Chandler Johnson. Running back Troy McCormick gave fans a glimpse of the extra dimension he adds to the Utes rushing attack, ripping off two 50-plus-yard runs that included a 60-yard score.

"That boy was blazing," Anderson said. "Every time he got a hole or got outside and got in the open field, he was loose."

He’s still a work in progress, McCormick acknowledged. He coughed up a fumble that was recovered by converted sophomore safety Hipolito Corporan for a touchdown and says he needs to improve at pass blocking and get his weight up to 175 pounds. But McCormick said he’s learned to be patient and that while east-west runs distinguished him Saturday, he’s just as comfortable running up the middle.


story continues below
story continues below

Juniors Devontae Booker and Bubba Poole — who both excelled in past 11 on 11 work this spring — combined for just 27 yards on 12 carries Saturday.

Whittingham said the most glaring issue for the offense remains tempo. Offensive coordinator Dave Christensen has used a 20-second play clock to hammer home the message, but they’re still not there, Whittingham said.

"Not nearly fast enough," Whittingham said. "The sense of urgency to get the ball snapped is not where it needs to be."

Playing again without a number of starters, the defense nonetheless showed improvement from Utah’s first spring scrimmage last Friday.

Sophomore defensive end Pita Taumoepenu — who said coaches tell him "Just go get the quarterback" — recorded two sacks. His goal is to get a sack each practice, he said, and if he doesn’t, "That makes me feel bad. That means I [didn’t] work hard enough."

Taumoepenu’s fellow defensive standouts include sophomore cornerback Reginald Porter, who broke up four passes, and redshirt freshman safety Evan Eggiman, who had two tackles for a loss.

On special teams, the play of the day was Andy Phillips hitting a 59-yard field goal and then performing a handspring into a flip that Red Rocks coach Greg Marsden would’ve been proud of. Whittingham said that before practice Phillips told him he felt good from 60. "He said, ‘That’s my spot.’"

"I’m not sure about the backflip after. Pretty impressive, but we don’t want a bunch of guys doing that."

mpiper@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.