Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Utah football: With Kendal Thompson watching, Travis Wilson returns
Utah football » Utes’ “incumbent” QB shows rust, but he’s ready to compete for his old job.
First Published Mar 18 2014 09:18 pm • Last Updated Mar 20 2014 04:29 pm

It had to feel a little strange to be Travis Wilson on Tuesday.

On one hand, Wilson finally returned to the game he loves after more than three months of feeling perfectly well and being told that football could pose a threat to his life. On the other, well, here’s the scenario:

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Former receivers coach Aaron Roderick is now your quarterback coach, and barking out the plays is a new offensive coordinator who you only recently met, Dave Christensen.

Standing next to you in street clothes as you make each pass is junior Kendal Thompson, whom Christensen helped persuade to transfer to Utah from Oklahoma. Taking reps with you — albeit not eligible until 2015 — is another guy with Christensen ties in junior Wyoming transfer Jason Thompson.

And worst, you’re just not throwing all that well.

But if it was weird, Wilson chose to embrace the positives on the first day of Utah’s spring camp.

"Definitely a little bit rusty today, but I’m just happy blessed to be back," the junior told reporters.

Wilson acknowledged that Thompson, junior Adam Schulz, redshirt freshman Conner Manning, and a handful of guys want his job, and that reps are now at a premium, "But I just got to keep on doing my part and make sure I’m doing the best I can."

He showed some zip on his passes and a characteristically tight spiral, but threw behind receivers and seemed to zero in at times.

Luckily for those angling for a Wilson return, few offensive players had a noticeably great day.

story continues below
story continues below

Manning was on a roll at one point until getting picked off by sophomore cornerback Reginald Porter on a deep post route. The offense’s lone apparent big-play highlight came when Schulz and sophomore burner Delshawn McClellon were able to connect on a deep strike down the left sideline.

Wilson is about 10 pounds lighter than last year’s playing weight of 235, thanks to doctor’s orders not to lift with the team until a couple of weeks ago. He has felt 100 percent, though, since about two weeks after Utah hosted Arizona State in early November. His only agony has been in waiting and wondering if life after football had already begun.

"Obviously it’s been a struggle for him this offseason, not being a part of a lot of the things we were doing, but he’s back now," said coach Kyle Whittingham. "He’s not cleared 100 percent yet, but hopefully that’s the next step."

Whittingham emphasized that Wilson is "the incumbent." He’s played in 21 games for the Utes, and while last season’s stats were underwhelming (56 percent completions and as many TDs as interceptions, at 16), those numbers are skewed by his struggles after cutting his throwing hand against No. 5 Stanford.

Doctors will test again in July to see if the stretched-out artery in his brain has remained stable — as it has since he suffered a concussion against the Sun Devils and doctors began monitoring it. For all he knows, it has been stable since birth. "If there were any change, then there would be hesitation, but I predict it’s not going to change at all," he said.

When preseason camp opens in August, Thompson will be doing more than watching. A 6-foot-1, dual-threat signal caller, Thompson was a preseason favorite to start for the Sooners last year before fracturing his right foot in summer workouts. He was recruited as a prep by Christensen.

"The bottom line is you’ve got to get the guy in there that moves the ball and gives us the best chance to win," Whittingham said, though not addressing Thompson specifically.

Thompson wore baggy gray sweats and a black Jumpman hoodie, displaying little emotion while on an unofficial visit Tuesday.

He spent most of the time standing with Roderick and Christensen in the middle of the field, jogging with the quarterbacks as they moved from drill to drill.

The team could not immediately make him available for comment, citing a need to first check with the school’s compliance office. He is in Salt Lake City for about a week.


Twitter: @matthew_piper

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
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.