Utah football had their first day of fall camp yesterday, and BlockU was there to take in the sights and sounds. The team was not in pads, so it is hard to judge how some position groups looked, but it was great to see the team practicing again, and it is possible to gain some insight into how the team looks. The offensive line is very hard to judge without pads, but there was some promise from the big guys up front.
Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson took the majority of reps, with Chase Hansen getting some as well. Conner Manning and Brandon Cox got some throws in after the starters were done. Between Wilson, Thompson, and Hansen, Wilson had the best day throwing the ball. He had the most velocity on his throws and was the most accurate. I was impressed with Thompson though. His throwing motion is improved (he does not have the hitch in his motion) and his passes had more zip. Hansen had the least velocity on his throws, but he did have a few nice runs. Wilson has the least mobility of the three, but he made a few nice plays with his feet. Thompson looked the best though of the three running. The main issue I saw with Wilson was he was holding onto the ball for too long, which would have resulted in coverage sacks.
As expected, Devontae Booker looked great. He showed off the skills that helped make him such a great running back last year and definitely had the best day out of any running back. Without pads though, it is hard to judge how the other running backs like Joseph Williams and Marcel Brooks-Brown are doing. The defense was stout against the run for much of practice.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
It was two newcomers both playing slot receiver that stood out yesterday: Cory Butler and Britain Covey. Both are not the biggest guys, but they are fast (especially Butler) and shifty (especially Covey). Head coach Kyle Whittingham and wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield both highlighted the strong play of each player. At tight end, both Harrison Handley and Caleb Repp made nice catches.
The defense looked stout at practice, playing well against the run and pass. The secondary would have forced multiple coverage sacks during practice if the quarterbacks were live. They did a nice job covering receivers. Reggie Porter looks to be Utah's next great cornerback. The defensive front looked great stopping the run and getting pressure on the quarterback. I would give the edge to the defense on the day.
Below are interviews with Whittingham and Stubblefield
Wide Receiver Coach Taylor Stubblefield Head Coach Kyle Whittingham
Here is a video from the first day of camp as well.