Utah football: Freshman QB Travis Wilson impressing coaches
By Lya Wodraska
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Apr 14 2012 07:59PM
Junior Jordan Wynn remains Utah’s starting quarterback, but the distance between the returner and freshman Travis Wilson is narrowing.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Wilson, a 6-foot-6, 204-pounder out of San Clemente, Calif., has made the most progress during Utah’s spring session.
"He has improved in all areas," he said. "His command of the offense, decision-making, leadership wise and accuracy in the throw game — he has made tremendous strides in all."
Asked if Wilson could be pushing Wynn for the starting role, Whittingham hesitated before answering.
"He is doing a great job," he said of Wilson. "We have a good competition going at quarterback. Jordan is still our guy but as it is with every position, the best guy is going to play. Right now the quarterback situation is as good as it has been for several years."
Wynn was 7-of-12 for 149 yards and a touchdown and Wilson was 6-of-8 for 56 yards in Saturday’s scrimmage. Freshman Chase Hansen was 2-of-4 for 14 yards and returner Jon Hays was 1-of-3 for eight yards and an interception.
DeVonte Christopher had two catches for 70 yards to lead the receivers.
Utah offensive coordinator Brian Johnson predicted Wilson’s rise would continue in the offseason.
"Enrolling early helps him dramatically," he said. "He is getting a lot of opportunities now, and he’ll be that much further along in fall camp."
As for Wynn, he made several long passes to Christopher, Reggie Dunn and others.
The junior was happy with the offense and said he likes Johnson’s aggressive playcalling.
"With the guys we have, we have to take shots down field," he said. "You saw the plays Reggie and those guys made. We have to do that."
On the run game
Sophomore running back Lucky Radley had 13 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown to lead the running backs and drew praise from Whittingham.
Radley is behind returner John White, redshirt freshman Jarrell Oliver and junior college transfer Kelvin York on the depth chart, but he is getting noticed.
"He is stuck behind some good backs, but if he keeps producing like he did today, he is going to get a shot," Whittingham said.
Several big names were missing from Saturday’s scrimmage with Star Lotulelei and Harvey Langi among the players who missed the scrimmage due to a class assignment. Corner Ryan Lacy sat out for precautionary reasons after suffering a concussion earlier in spring ball, and other proven players including White and linebacker Trevor Reilly didn’t play or saw only limited snaps.
The Utes practice Tuesday and Thursday and wrap up the spring session with the Red-White game on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Whittingham continues to be impressed with the effort the team is giving.
"I love the energy level," he said. "It’s probably the best energy and enthusiasm from a group of guys who enjoy what they are doing that I can remember. I can’t remember a spring where there has been such positive energy."