University of Utah football: Offense struggles in second scrimmage
Mistakes and miscues in situational drills during Tuesday's scrimmage left the Utah Utes feeling pressed to improve in the short time they have before the season begins.
The Utes, who open the season Sept. 1 against Montana State, have to get much better, particularly in the two-minute and four-minute drills, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
Whittingham, who has been happy with the development of the offense throughout camp, liked what he saw when the team worked between the 20-yard lines but was frustrated at the fumbles, sacks and other errors committed in the situational drills.
"You have to be great at situational football and tackling to win championships and we are a long ways away," he said.
Quarterback Jordan Wynn was 9-for-16 for 120 yards and a 14-yard touchdown to Dres Anderson while backup Jon Hays was 9-for-10 for 76 yards.
Tauni Vakapuna rushed eight times for 48 yards, Harvey Langi rushed seven times for eight yards with one touchdown and Thretton Palamo had 10 carries for just one yard.
John White, the No. 1 running back, sat out with a hip pointer but was expected to be back by Thursday.
Wynn, whose throws continue to be limited, didn't seem as concerned with the team's execution as his coach hinting that the two-a-days could be taking their toll on the team.
"Everyone has to stay focused and mentally tuned in," he said. "It's camp and guys get tired and stuff like that, but you can't let that set in, you still have to go out and do your job."
Part of the sloppiness could be attributed to the strong play of Utah's defense, which was led by David Rolf and Derrick Shelby. The two combined for five of 11 sacks. Brian Blechen had an interception, and Michael Walker and Mo Lee were among the secondary players who shone.
Still, Whittingham wasn't letting his offense off the hook.
"We have to do a better job of protecting the quarterback," he said. "That is the biggest issue right now."
Kicking game lacks
Walk-on Coleman Petersen was 3-of-4 on field goals, missing one from 26 yards and making kicks of 43, 36, 28 and 27 yards to take the edge in the competition for place kicker. Nick Marsh, a sophomore who is on scholarship, missed all four of his attempts from 28, 36, 44 and 51 yards.
"Kicking is our Achilles' heel right now," Whittingham said.
Wynn is on the watch list for the Manning Award, which goes to the nation's top quarterback. ... Defensive back Quade Chappuis, a sophomore out of Lone Peak H.S., has been awarded a scholarship. ... Offensive coordinator Norm Chow and players Jordan Wynn, Tony Bergstrom, Chaz Walker and Lei Talamaivao will participate in the Utes' social media day (UtahUtes.com) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday.
What we learned • Utah's offense must cut down on mistakes such as fumbles and dropped passes in its situational drills.