Camp Kyle Day 2
If Day 1 of fall camp for the Utes was sluggish and not what Kyle Whittingham wanted to see, then Day 2 was the opposite. The Utah Head Coach seemed much more pleased with his team’s effort on Day 2 of Camp Kyle. Only 4 QB’s worked on Tuesday as freshman Micah Thomas was nursing a hamstring injury. Aside from the usual nicks, bruises and cramping that’s associated with the early days of fall camp nothing major on the injury front to report.
I was only able to observe Travis Wilson and Adam Schulz for a few minutes in their reps today and both were solid if not spectacular. The 2 QB’s I got to watch the longest today were freshmen Connor Manning and Brandon Cox. Both had very good days by my count today. Manning has fantastic touch, arm strength and pocket presence. There doesn’t appear to be a throw that he can’t make, at least without pressure and no pads. Brandon Cox, who participated this spring, looks much more confident throwing the football. While not quite as accurate as Manning today, he was good. The thing that sets Cox apart is his athleticism and ability to make plays outside the pocket. My expectation is that both these young quarterbacks are giving Dennis Erickson and Brian Johnson plenty to think about.
Speaking of Quarterbacks, I caught up with #2 QB Adam Schulz after practice today. Here’s the audio of my conversation with Schulz.
Linebackers and the Secondary
While the front four for the Utes doesn’t appear to have too many questions right now, the same can’t be said for the linebacking corps and the secondary. Talking to Defensive Coordinator Kalani Sitake, he feels like the talent is there in both spots but it’s a matter of finding the right guys. The wildcard at LB is Miami transfer Gionni Paul. If he’s ruled eligible to play this year, due to sanctions against Miami, he’ll be an immediate contributor at MLB. The NCAA findings against Miami are expected on August 16th. Aside from that, Norris, Hale, Masina, Fehoko, Filiaga, Hooker and Blechen are all competing for playing time.
In the secondary, Justin Thomas and Keith McGill are the hopefuls at starting corner. Thomas has been terrific so far, while McGill has to drop weight before he can be considered for a starting spot. Porter, Orphey, Freeman, Smith and Walker are all in the mix too.
For a complete run down on all things Utah Defense, here’s my conversation with Utes Defensive Coordinator Kalani Sitake after Day 2.
The Utes continue to play the waiting game with JC Safety Tevin Carter. Carter, who is not in Salt Lake City right now, is awaiting grades from online classes to determine his eligibility for this fall. According to sources, the earliest Utah will know something is likely 2 weeks away. Whittingham says that Carter could still jump in and be a big contributor if cleared to play in that time frame.