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Utes closing spring camp still trying to find offensive identity

It's not been an easy spring for Utah's offense and its new offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Not only is he teaching an entirely new offense to players who are used to the spread option, he's also doing it without his starting quarterback.

Jordan Wynn's injury has really changed the dynamics of spring camp. Certainly not having him practice has made the growing pains more obvious and it will mean he's going to have to do a lot of work between now and fall camp to get himself ready for Montana State.

Those issues haven't been helped by the struggles of Tyler Shreve and Griff Robles - as neither quarterback has shown much evidence they're capable of starting in the Pac-12. 

Because of this, Kyle Whittingham has brought in Butte College quarterback Jon Hays, who is expected to battle for the second spot. In fact, with how both quarterbacks have struggled, it wouldn't surprise me if Hays ends up Wynn's backup at the start of the season.

Here is a highlight video of Hays, whose role on the team could be similar to Brett Ratliff in 2005 - a junior college transfer who backed up Brian Johnson before taking over the starting role after Johnson went down with an injury. 

Of course, I'm not comparing him to Ratliff, who I think did a pretty good job at Utah all things considered, but he at least looks good in that highlight video. 

Hopefully both Shreve and Robles can step up and give Utah a decent cushion outside of Wynn. Though I hope he stays healthy and I expect that will be the case, we can't ignore the fact that Wynn was injured during last year's spring game (on the first play), injured in the season-opening win over Pittsburgh (missed two games) and finally, was injured mid-season in a win over Iowa State that nagged him the remainder of the season and kept him out of the Las Vegas Bowl.

So, all told, Wynn managed one game last season without playing injured or injuring himself (he started against San Jose State and then two weeks later, after a bye, was injured at Iowa State).

Sure, the Utes didn't miss much of a beat against Wyoming and Colorado State - two awful, awful teams, but it became apparent something was seriously wrong against Air Force, TCU, Notre Dame and BYU in the season finale. 

Hopefully that isn't the case this season. Especially if they can't find a suitable backup. 

Anyway, enough pessimism for today. Some articles about Wednesday's practice after the jump...

Offense still has a lot to prove | U of U Sports | The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah football: Matthews returns to receiver | The Salt Lake Tribune

Petersen gets helping hand from Utes legend | The Daily Utah Chronicle

Utah Utes football notebook: Offense showing some signs of progress | Deseret News