Utes' first day of fall camp filled with excitement, high expectations

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Jordan Wynn #3 of the Utah Utes makes a pass as he is rushed by Devon Kennard #42 of the USC Trojans during the first quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The first day of fall camp is kind of like the first day of school - you're mostly just getting a feel for one another. This is the first time since April Utah has officially held practice and not much is really expected at the very start.

So, you're left with a lot of coach-speak, roster updates, player glimpses and a ton of optimism.

Kyle Whittingham was quick to throw down the positive news out of the gate when he deemed this freshman class potentially the best ever at Utah. Strong words for a bunch of players who've yet to play a down. But it doesn't really seem far fetched when you delve into the rankings.

That is good news, of course, because the Utes still have some room to go before closing the recruiting gap with a good number of Pac-12 foes. They're getting there, but in some instances, especially compared to the top of the conference, they're a ways away.

The biggest news out of camp today was the supposed injury of Chase Hansen. Initial word, as reported by Dirk Facer of the Desert News, was not good, as he indicated a shoulder injury could keep him off the field for the season. Whittingham walked back those comments a bit, suggesting it was only sore and that they would have more information by no later than the beginning of next week. However, with Hansen poised for a LDS mission next year, it would not surprise me in the least if Hansen fails to play at any point this season.

That brings about some questions involving quarterback depth - something that plagued Utah last season. Jon Hays is still the designated number two behind Jordan Wynn and Travis Wilson is still a potential mover, but I was hoping Hansen could at least get some reps in when they run the option, something the Utes appear to have added to their playbook once again. If he's out, that obviously won't happen.

Other than that, Quade Chappuis replaces the suspended Brian Blechen, while running back James Poole, a junior college transfer from Saddleback College, was on campus, though didn't practice today.

As for the practice itself, as I said, Whittingham was most impressed by the crop of new freshmen, and all reports indicate Wynn looked strong in his throws - he was quoted as saying the offense looked strong with no mistakes.

Hopefully that's a sign of things to come. Utah certainly starts this year's fall camp with a bit more optimism in the air compared to last year and much of that deals with Wynn, who, I think we all agree, holds the keys to success for this year's Utes.

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