Utah concludes solid second scrimmage of fall camp

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SALT LAKE CITY — Sixteen days from the beginning of the start of the college football season and a matchup with the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds, Kyle Whittingham says that the Utes second official scrimmage was a success.

"It was solid. It was what we needed to see. The offense did a great job of taking care of the football. Conversely, we need to do a better job taking the ball away with our defense; but when you look at the scrimmage as a whole, 16 days out, we feel like we're in pretty good shape," said the head coach.

As far as position groups? Let's highlight some more fall camp position battles to watch for.

The quarterbacks

Troy Williams is still a "solid No. 1" said Whittingham. As backups Brandon Cox and Tyler Huntley continue their battle. Whittingham reiterated what he said yesterday: the staff is comfortable with either guy as their backup, it's just a matter of coming to a consensus on who is two and who is three.

"They're both playing well, it's just deciding which one are we going to choose," he said, adding that Huntley's opportunity to redshirt and save eligibility was going to factor into the situation. For those wondering whether or not the Utes might keep the backup situation fluid, Whittingham was succinct, saying, "I hope not."

The linebackers

Linebackers coach Justin Ena said today that experience has been the difference for linebackers Sunia Tauteoli and Cody Barton.

"Sunia's been the stalwart as the No. 1 guy," said Ena. "It's a work in progress. Cody's done a great job too. I like Marcus Sanders-Williams, I love Donovan Thompson, Evan Eggiman; we've got a great crew of backup dudes, but I'm glad we've still got a couple of weeks until the game, because we're gonna need it."

In response to whether or not there would be a lot of fluidity, Ena said, "Oh yeah, definitely. Even the starting crew could be fluid. We've just got to make sure we put the best 11 guys, the best couple linebackers out there, to get W's."

The defensive backs

It seems like the defensive backs have been the Utes forgotten unit at times, but they're an extremely accomplished unit that returns three players with multiple interceptions from last season.

Chase Hansen is slated to start as strong safety, with returning all-conference free safety Marcus Williams slated to line up beside him. Seniors Dominique Hatfield and Reginald Porter will line up either side of both safeties at the starting corner spots, and Justin Thomas is slated to return to his role as starting nickel cornerback.

Aside from those already mentioned, the Utes have a number of young defensive backs ready to play should injuries occur. Coach Sharrieff Shah says that freshman Julian Blackmon, Terrell Burgess and Nygel King are all competent players ready to compete in the Pac-12.

"Their football acumen is so sharp. They see things before I yell at them," said Shah. "We're in a good spot, healthy, great competition, developing these young kids."

Stephen Lindsey is a student at the University of Utah currently working as an intern with KSL.com in Salt Lake City. Contact him at th3sl3@gmail.com or interact via his twitter handle, @th3sl3

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