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Defense controls practice as tempers flare

Utah's defense dominates Saturday's practice.

With all the changes Utah is expected to see on the offensive side of the ball the next few months, it's hard not to anticipate some struggle. Saturday, that struggle was real and the Utes, whose offense has proven a major concern for the program the last three seasons, saw firsthand how the development of this year's offense still holds the keys to success in 2014.

But it was not unexpected.

The transition is going to cause at least some learning curve - especially with Travis Wilson still limited in his action. But the defense rode that transition to a solid practice, keeping Utah's offense in check for pretty much most the day. It also led to a smattering of trash talking and even a fight.

Wilson and Gionni Paul got into a little scuffle, which, as long as they can leave that emotion on the field, is something I like to see. No, I'm not advocating for in-team fighting, which can often unravel a season, but rather the intensity and fire that comes from it. Wilson is a baller, which I don't really think is up for debate, so, it's nice to see he still has that energy, even after the news of his condition. But it also gives us a glimpse into Paul, whose intensity could bring a lot to the defense - so much so, in fact, he was named captain, despite the fact he hasn't played a down yet with Utah.

Paul, of course, transferred to the program from the University of Miami, and sat out last season because of it. He may prove to be the biggest impact player on this year's team, especially since he appears to have the tools to rival some legitimately good linebackers - including BYU's Kyle Van Noy.

The fight between the two happened when Paul started running his mouth a bit. Wilson, annoyed, shoved him and things progressed before calmer heads prevailed. Kyle Whittingham had this to say about it:

"Thank goodness! You want skirmishes. A few of them. That means they’re competitive and they’re getting after it."

I couldn't agree more.