Defense dominates Utes' spring game
Despite missing spring practice and Saturday's Red-White game, Jordan Wynn is clearly Utah's No. 1 quarterback.
Just don't tell Tyler Shreve.
A freshman from Highland, Calif., Shreve continued the steady improvement he's made in recent weeks during the Reds' 7-0 victory at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Shreve completed 9-of-20 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, as a crowd estimated by Utah officials to be more than 15,000 watched on a warm and sunny afternoon.
With Wynn sidelined after shoulder surgery, Shreve spent the spring battling sophomore Griff Robles for the job as the primary backup at quarterback.
Playing for the White team, Robles completed 11-of-23 passes for 74 yards.
He also threw an interception at the Reds' 8-yard line late in the first half.
Early in the third quarter, Robles had a fourth-down pass from the 3-yard line batted down at the line of scrimmage.
"He was hot and cold," said coach Kyle Whittingham of Shreve. "He did some good things, [and] he did some things you'd expect out of a true freshman."
Such as being sacked three times.
"He's got to get rid of the ball throw it away," Whittingham said. "He can't make a play every down. Sometimes, he has to burn the ball."
According to his coach, however, Shreve has taken undeniable strides toward becoming a Pac-12 quarterback.
"You talk about where he was in Practice 1 to where he is now a lot of progress," Whittingham said.
Shreve was encouraged enough by his work this spring that, one of these days, he'd like to make Wynn's designation as the Utes' No. 1 quarterback less of a foregone conclusion.
"I feel like I want that spot and it's up for grabs," he said. "I know Jordan has that spot right now, and everybody knows it. But I'm going to battle for it. That's the plan."
Jumping from high school to college is difficult, Shreve said, because "everybody is much faster and lot stronger.
"But I got in the weight room, got with my coaches, went over film and did what I needed to do. I think I've worked hard and done pretty well."
In the spring game, Shreve hit senior Dexter Ransom with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:32 remaining in the first half for the only score.
Because Whittingham estimated that 70 percent of Utah's projected starters did not play, he wasn't upset by the lack of offense.
"I thought we moved the football, we just didn't score," he said.
Freshman running back Harvey Langi carried 12 times for 63 yards and "ran hard," Whittingham said.
Up front, the Utes had only seven linemen available. The group played for both teams.
"I was proud of the offensive line," Whittingham said. "They got worn slick there toward the end."
On defense, Terrell Reese (Red) and Joseph Smith (White) had interceptions.
White team linebacker Trevor Reilly was credited with 21/2 sacks.
"I feel good about our progress," Whittingham said. "We've got a long ways to go. This summer is going to be critical for our development ... what the players take it upon themselves to do."
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