Notes from the final day of Utah fall camp.
Fall Camp came to a close Saturday afternoon as the University of Utah football team held its final scrimmage of Camp Kyle at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Although there was not much live action, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and offensive coordinator Troy Taylor said it was one of the team’s best offensive days yet. It was the sharpness, execution, smooth transitions between the sub groups coming in and out and the lack of penalties that pleased the two.
“It [the scrimmage] was very similar to what we did last week,” Whittingham said. “A lot of situational work, a lot of special teams work and really the last game-like work that we’ll do before we line up and play.”
Whittingham said a starting quarterback will be named on Monday. The quarterback battle that has involved Troy Williams and Tyler Huntley with Cooper Bateman also in the mix has been a talking point throughout camp. Beside the ability to move Utah closer to the end zone, protect the football and score points, Whittingham said being a leader is a characteristic that he is looking for in a quarterback.
With Williams being announced a captain earlier this week, Whittingham acknowledged that Williams does possess that leadership quality, but he was quick to add Huntley does too.
“Tyler [Huntley] was very close as well in that voting,” Whittingham said. “So both those guys are viewed by this football team as leaders. Both have that charisma and personality that you like in quarterbacks.”
Taylor said all three quarterbacks understand the offense and are wired in, but when it comes to selecting a quarterback to lead the offense on the field, he’s looking for a player that exemplifies a handful of characteristics like accuracy and decision-making.
“And then probably mental toughness, competitive. Got to be kind of a football junkie that wants to be around it all the time,” Taylor said. “And then anticipation, functional athleticism. Obviously the more athletic you are as a runner that makes a difference, and then arm strength somewhere down there seventh or eighth.”
Hansen, Falemaka progression, Smith out
Strong safety Chase Hansen did not practice for the duration of fall camp, but Whittingham announced that Hansen should be back to practice next week and will slide back into his starting position.
“Chase Hansen is one of the best safeties in the country,” Whittingham said. “Get him on the field … I love Chase Hansen and what he brings to the football team.”
Starting center Lo Falemaka who was injured on day six of fall camp returned to the field before Camp Kyle came to a close.
“[He’s] not in a 100% capacity as far as all the reps,” Whittingham said. “But if we played today, he’d play. He’s that good as far as health-wise.”
Whittingham also announced that cornerback Tyrone Smith will not return to the field as he is out for the season after having ankle surgery. He will redshirt this season and return next spring.
The Utes season kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 31 at 5:30 p.m. MT. as they’ll welcome in North Dakota.
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