Utah took the field today for the fourth practice of fall camp after having a day off on Sunday. Utah again was only in helmets and shoulder pads as part of the NCAA’s five day acclimatization period. The offense, especially the running game, won the practice on Saturday, but today was all about the defense. It is still hard to tell where the team stands without full pads, so there is no tackling. There was great intensity from the team again today.
There still was no separation between Brandon Cox, Tyler Huntley, and Troy Williams. Each made some nice throws, but they all had some bad throws. None of the quarterbacks had a turnover during the media viewing session. All three quarterbacks showed mobility in practice today.
After a great day on Saturday, the running backs struggled to find room to run today. Most of the runs were losses or very short gains without any big gains today. Joe Williams is the front runner to be the starter this season. He has put on some weight and is up to about 208 lbs according to head coach Kyle Whittingham. Williams did have a very nice catch on a slightly overthrown pass from Cox. True freshman Zack Moss fumbled the ball, but Whittingham said it might have been partly because of a bad handoff. True freshman Devonta’e Henry-Cole showed some nice speed and shiftiness in practice.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
There was good and bad from the wide receivers and tight ends today. Utah has a lot of size and height at wide receiver. Tim Patrick made multiple catches today. After one catch, he trucked Boobie Hobbs, who was trying to "tackle" him. He does not show any lingering signs of the injury that sidelined him all of last season. Caleb Repp and Demari Simpkins both made nice catches on poorly thrown passes. Simpkins had several catches on the day and showed nice moves in the open field. Tyrone Smith had a catch during practice. Tyler Cooperwood had a drop. The receivers did run some nice routes today to create separation.
Harrison Handley looks a lot bigger than he did last year. He had a nice today as well. True freshman Chad Hekking had a catch, but he also had a really bad drop today.
The offensive line did struggle at times today. They allowed multiple sacks and did not open holes in the running game. J.J. Dielman was again taking reps at center today. He had errant snaps on Saturday; he got those cleaned up today during the media viewing session. Whittingham said that it is not yet a done deal for Dielman to start at center, but he is making progress. Whittingham also praised Garett Bolles at left tackle.
The defensive line looked the best out of any group on defensive. Pita Taumoepenu, Leki Fotu, and Bradlee Anae all likely had sacks (I say likely because they are not allowed to tackle the quarterbacks). The defensive line did not allow any running room for the running backs and held them to minimal gains.
While the linebackers are a rebuilding project after losing two All-Pac-12 linebackers, there is talent at the position. The linebackers did a nice job supporting the run today. They did get beat several times by tight ends in the passing game. Kavika Luafatasaga said his knowledge of the playbook and conditioning are coming along after arriving to Utah later in the summer.
The secondary overall played decently. They did allow receivers to get open at times, but they are playing with physicality and are helping in run support. Dominique Hatfield had a big hit on running back Troy McCormick. They did not force any turnovers on the day, but they also did not get beaten deep at all.