Utah spring practice recap: Offense sluggish, defense the highlight so far

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

The Utes are still looking for better offensive production.

The Utes held an open practice on Tuesday, but sadly the elements (rain, snow, ice) kept most people away from the action. So the actual reports are a bit limited. The coolest thing to come out is this new profile on up-and-coming Utes to keep your eye on defensively.

(Player U Defense from Utah Football on Vimeo.)

Kyle Whittingham had some nice comments about a few players.

Whittingham noted there were a lot of drops and poor execution on offense. Defensively, he noted that junior linebacker Gionni Paul was very active. Whittingham also praised junior linebacker Jared Norris for stepping up his game and making a bunch of plays.

Utah has tried and shored up the defensive line by moving around some players from more loaded positions. Greg Reese moved from tight end (where he was currently a fourth string) to defensive end to try and get into the rotation over the next three weeks. Clarence Smith also moved from his converted linebacker position to defensive end, as the Utes try and shore up depth behind current slated starters Nate Orchard and Hunter Dimick.

Despite that, the defense is still looking like the better unit as a whole. The offense did not perform well. Matthew Piper has more.

Junior wide receiver Kenneth Scott addressed his team at the middle of the field after Tuesday’s practice.

Forty yards away, onlookers could hear almost every word.

The gist was that the intensity has to improve.

Playing in soggy jerseys with wet footballs and numb hands, the Ute offense looked at times like regular people do when they’re spending 2 1/2 hours in the elements: miserable.


After practice, head coach Kyle Whittingham said there were no standouts on offense, although he was a fan of Scott’s lecture.

"He hit the nail on the head," Whittingham said. "Offensively, we were very flat today. It wasn’t very hard to diagnose, but he stepped up and said that can’t happen and we’ve got to get that changed."

Some more highlights can be found on Kevin WintersMorriss's Tout account (click here for video).

Here are the players that are currently out due to injury along with Jacoby Hale: Right guard Junior Salt, linebacker Jason Whittingham, defensive tackles Sese Ianu, Viliseni Fauonuku and Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, safety Tevin Carter, offensive lineman Derek Tuimauga, and defensive lineman Sam Tevi.

Finally, do you have any suggestions for names for the new Ute offensive line?

There will be a practice on Tuesday before the first scrimmage of spring practice on Friday, April 4th.

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