SALT LAKE CITY — Utah kicked off its third and final week on camp Monday morning.
“They practiced well, came out with the right attitude,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham, who added that it was a good, intense practice and the Utes got a lot of work done.
The main focus this week is polishing up the offense now that offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig’s scheme has been installed — at least for the Aug. 29 opener at BYU.
“So we’ve got to continue to eliminate mental mistakes, all the details of everything we’re doing — the exact splits, footwork, all that stuff offensively,” Whittingham explained.
ON THE LINE: Whittingham said the team has four offensive linemen now that they feel good about starting — Braeden Daniels, Nick Ford, Darrin Paulo and Orlando Umana.
“We’re just looking for one more,” Whittingham said.
The Utes are hoping to have the fifth lineman in place by Thursday — two weeks before the opener. A pecking order that includes the top three reserves is also being sought.
BIG BAM: Does late arrival Bamidele Olaseni have time to crack the lineup?
Whittingham acknowledged “it would be a tough deal” for the junior college All-American to move into the vacancy in three days.
“I don’t want to make it sound like once we get the five guys that’s it. There’s no more competition. But at least those five guys will start working together,” Whittingham said. “So the answer is absolutely Bam can work into that if his play dictates.”
Although Whittingham said it was great to have Olaseni out on the field Monday, he noted that he looked really talented and “out of shape.” At 6-foot-8 and 337 pounds, Whittingham said Olaseni has exceptional size and strength.
“So that’s a big positive for us,” he continued.
KICKING LOGJAM: The competition at kicker continues to be knotted as Andrew Strauch, Jadon Redding and Nels Haltom remain in pretty much a dead heat for the job.
“The kickers are still jockeying for position,” Whitttingham said. “If they don’t separate themselves in three or four days I’m just going to have to cut one out of the herd just on gut feel.”Comment on this story
Whittingham noted the need to get it down to two candidates as the season approaches.
AND AT LINEBACKER: Depth at linebacker is another concern. Whittingham said junior Moroni Anae has worked his work into the rotation. Junior Trennan Carlson returned to practice after being beat up a little bit for a couple of days. Anae and Carlson are part of a linebacker mix that includes projected starters Francis Bernard and Devin Lloyd, as well as Sione Lund.
“So we’ve got five,” Whittingham said. “But we need six. So that’s where we’re at.”