Utah football: Utes' offense ahead of schedule
Thanks to the presence of a veteran quarterback and the in-house hiring of the new offensive coordinator, Utah's offense is developing better than the Utes had hoped.
At least, that was the overall impression from the Utes' scrimmage Saturday.
Quarterback Jordan Wynn was 11 of 27 for 103 yards and two touchdowns and receiver Dres Anderson had seven catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.
The running back duties were split with Harvey Langi rushing nine times for 42 yards and redshirt freshman Jarrell Oliver rushing 11 times for 49 yards.
"The lack of penalties and errors overall, we are playing as clean as we ever have through nine practices in the spring," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "Brian [Johnson] has added some elements, but a great deal of it is what we have been doing so it has been a seamless transition to this point."
Johnson, hired to replace Norm Chow as offensive coordinator when Chow left to be the head coach at Hawaii, said he was going to use a variety of looks. So far, the Utes like what they are seeing.
Langi and Oliver both have been surprises in spring with their play, but tight ends Jake Murphy and the use of several receivers are giving the Utes a chance to be more explosive than they felt they were last year.
"We want to play fast and be hungry, and that is how Brian, how coach Johnson coaches," said receiver DeVonte Christopher, who obviously is still adjusting to Johnson's new role. "That is how we want to play every day."
The Utes allowed the defense to hit freshman quarterbacks Chase Hansen and Travis Wilson, giving them an official welcome to college football.
Hansen was 3 of 4 for 10 yards and a touchdown and Wilson was 9 of 11 for 106 yards and an interception and touchdown. Jon Hays, the backup turned starter last year, was 4 of 4 for 55 yards.
Whittingham said the quarterbacks weren't protected because the coaches had to see how they'd play under fire.
"It's not completely realistic until you have to get out of harm's way, throw and make the runs," he said. "You'll probably see that again next week, too."
Utah athletic director Chris Hill said he hoped to have an idea of who the Utes will have on their future schedules by this summer.
The team announced Friday that it bought out Utah State for the 2014 game that was to take place in Logan.
Hill said it's his desire for the Utes to play a Big Ten team at home when the Utes only have four Pac-12 home games on the schedule.
He remained noncommittal in continuing any rivalry with BYU, but said he and BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe have talked.
On the D
Utah's proven defensive players didn't get much time Saturday, but their absence didn't stop coordinator Kalani Sitake from wanting more from his guys.
"We should have done a lot better job stopping the run," he said. "It wasn't good enough, but we'll be better when we have David [Kruger] and Star [Lotulelei] in there together."
Keith McGill had a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown.