Day 3 at Camp Kyle on Friday afternoon saw Utah Football don the pads for the first time this fall. It was a day that saw the defense with upper hand, at least in the latter portions of practice that were available to viewing. For a third consecutive day Whittingham said he was pleased with his teams’ energy and effort. He said that while they had pads on, that they still weren’t ready to tackle “to the ground”.
A Day for the Defense
The media was allowed in to observe the last 35 or so minutes of practice on Friday. In that time we saw 11 on 11 football that was dominated by the defense. It appeared that Morgan Scalley turned his first, second and third defensive units loose on the offense, with pressure from his front seven, which never allowed the Quarterbacks to get comfortable. Tyler Huntley was forced to scramble outside the pocket on a couple of occasions, one resulting in an incomplete pass high to Mariner and the other an interception by Corrion Ballard that would have been returned for a touchdown. It’s unclear whether Huntley or Jaylen Dixon was at fault for the INT, but Ballard made a terrific play.
Others that stood on on defense on Day 3:
1. Tyrone Smith
2. Donovan Thompson
3. Julian Blackmon
4. Bradlee Anae
Whitt Praises Wide Outs
Kyle Whittingham made a point on Friday to say that the most impressive position group through 3 days of practice has been Guy Holliday’s Wide Receivers. Whittingham made mention of 6 or 7 guys by name, including true freshman Solomon Enis. I caught up with return missionary Britain Covey, who said that this is the most competitive group he’s been around. You can listen to my full conversation with Covey right here.
Bradlee Anae and the Defensive Ends
One of the few position battles in Utah Camp this fall is at the defensive end spot, opposite of Bradlee Anae. I caught up with Anae on Friday afternoon to get his perspective on who might have an “inside move” towards that spot. Anae says that Mika Tafua and Maxs Tupai have caught his eye over the first three days in camp. Here’s my full conversation with Anae from Friday Afternoon.
No News Is No News
Whittingham says there is nothing new to report on the status of transfer linebackers Bryant Pirtle and Frances Bernard. Both are awaiting grades to post then clearinghouse.
Special Teams Update
The Utah Placekickers emerged in front of the media for the first time this fall. Kyle Whittingham brought Matt Gay and Chayden Johnston out to kick at the end of the 11 on 11 series. Matt Gay was 2-4 on kicks between 45-50yds, plenty of leg. Johnston went made a FG from roughly 50yds away.
Whittingham said the kick return game will be a work in progress throughout fall camp. He expects Derrick Vickers and Julian Blackmon to both get looks. The punt return game seems a bit more settled, with Britain Covey getting the only name mention from Whittingham.
Offensive Line Progressing
Offensive Line Coach Jim Harding says that his unit is far ahead of where they were last fall. They are still working to find their best five guys right now, but he wants to have a pool of eight guys that can play up front this season. Nick Ford and Johnny Capra appear to be the two leading candidates to take the fifth and final vacant starting spot on the line. Here’s Jim Harding talking about his group following Friday Afternoon’s practice.
Three Guys Who Caught My Eye on Day 3
1. Corrion Ballard-INT and around the ball all afternoon.
2. Julian Blackmon-Lockdown third day in a row on the outside.
3. Donovan Thompson-made some plays in pads. Always around the ball
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