As the race for quarterback continues, coaches still have to analyze film from Friday’s practice to see whether or not any one of the three potential starters are breaking away from the rest. Nothing is clear-cut, however, and head coach Kyle Whittingham is having a hard time naming Troy Williams, Brandon Cox or Tyler Huntley as the front-runner.
As Whittingham has said throughout spring practices, all three quarterbacks offer a lot of the same things and have more similarities than one might think. Just six practices in, Whittingham will adjust reps if need be, but for now each one is still receiving equal opportunity to show what they can do for Utah.
Senior Kylie Fitts has taken note of what each quarterback can bring to the table since it’s his job to figure out what each one of their weaknesses are, but for now, there aren’t many to name. He thinks each one is pretty versatile. Once they become more adjusted to how things go, any one of them can be a real threat.
“The thing I see, so far, is that all three quarterbacks are good in the pocket,” Fitts said. “They know where the rush is coming and they’re good at avoiding it.”
One aspect that needs to be improved on the field, so that the quarterbacks are given the chance to do more, is offensive line play.
A few offensive linemen are sitting out for the spring because of injury. Although the replacements do have some catching up to do before they can be competitive with the defense, Whittingham sees it only as a positive. The second team on the defense fills in better than the second team on the offense does, but since spring is all about getting better and finding out where someone can improve, that’s exactly how Whittingham is viewing this time for the offense.
“There is a pretty big drop off between the [No. 1] and [No. 2] o-line, so they get exposed a little bit, but they’re making progress and working hard,” Whittingham said. “The only way to get better is to get the reps. We have two or three offensive linemen out, which is giving the opportunity for some of the younger guys to get in there.”
Like Whittingham, Fitts thinks there is no better time than now to get all of the pieces together. With Morgan Scalley taking over the defensive coordinator position, Fitts believes he is bringing a lot of the same mentality he did last season while he was the special teams and safeties coach. The defense always has a goal of being a top threat in the Pac-12 and Fitts is confident that with Scalley and the guys on the field, they can be just as dominant as they were last season.
“Defense has really stepped up this spring with Morgan Scalley as our [defensive coordinator],” Fitts said. “I feel like we’re a more nasty, more physical defense so this spring we’ve been really taking that and going with it and going after the ball and improving every practice.”
Whittingham expects there to be plenty of ups and downs the rest of the way, but the team has yet to have a bad practice. Although the defense has been outperforming the offense, the offense is slowly getting there.
Whether it’s the fact that Whittingham would like to see the quarterbacks clean up their mechanics or see the offensive line be stronger, there’s still plenty left to be done.
“They protected better and gave the quarterbacks a little more time, still not sharp enough in the throwing game, missed a few blocks in the run game, but overall there is progress,” Whittingham said. “Took care of the ball on offense, not a lot of turnovers which is a negative for the defense, but it’s give and take all spring long.”