Inside the huddle: Utes improving on both sides of the ball, splitting carries at RB

Untitled Emily Juchau

Starting off spring camp, the defense was getting the better of the offense, mainly because the starting quarterback job was up for grabs with the departure of long-time starter Travis Wilson. The unit struggled to get off on the right foot, but as of late, it has been doing a decent job.

The offense has had back-to-back productive scrimmages and, for the majority of the time, had been out-playing the defense, with the exception of the start to the first scrimmage and the two-minute drill in the second scrimmage.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham thinks the offense struggled more at the beginning because it needed to focus a lot more on communication and overall learning of the playbook. Defense, on the other hand, has a pretty standard set of guidelines from year to year.

“It’s typical for the offense to be not quite as sharp early,” Whittingham said. “The offense relies on execution, and the defense is just emotion and flying around. Of course fundamentals and technique is involved, but the offense has the burden of execution, and it takes a little bit of time for that to get polished up.”

The defense has struggled to cause turnovers — they only have had two through both — but Whittingham thinks the linebacking core is steadily making progress and a starting lineup is emerging.

 

New running back format for next season

Since both Joe Williams and Troy McCormick have proved their worthiness over the spring, Whittingham evisions a new format for how the team will use the running back position.

No longer will one person do the majority of the work.

The ball will most likely be divided up evenly between Williams and McCormick so although only one will get the starting job, the other won’t fall too far behind. Both can expect to receive similar playing time, whether or not they are on the field first.

“It’s not a 30-carry-a-game Devontae [Booker] situation,” Whittingham said. “We’re going to spread the ball around a little more.”

Whittingham is confident in whoever he chooses to give the starting job and will be just as confident in the backup. However, the third- and fourth-string running backs is where it gets tricky. Whittingham does not know who would be able to step up if either Williams or McCormick were to go down because of injury, and he hopes that through these last few work days and summer and fall, someone can fulfill that role.

 

NCAA Update

Earlier Tuesday morning, the NCAA approved for schools to pay for recruits’ parents to come visit the school with them. As Whittingham has mentioned time and time again, it’s all about the players, so doing anything to benefit them is positive, and this is one ruling he can get on board with, unlike the banning of satellite camps a little more than a week ago.

Whittingham had not actually heard of this ruling until after Tuesday’s practice, but he loves the idea of it. Especially considering not every family has the means to fly out with their child to tour several colleges within one year, it only makes things that much easier on the family.

“They’re the only thing that matters, their well-being and helping them out in any way that we can,” Whittingham said. “That’s obviously a big step because a lot of parents can’t afford to make the trips to various campuses so to do that. It’s a big plus.”

k.brenneisen@dailyutahchronicle.com

@kbrenneisen