Ute coach Kyle Whittingham says 1st day of fall camp was 'exceptional'

By Dirk Facer, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Aug. 5, 2014, 12:20 a.m. MDT

 Coach Kyle Whittingham is interviewed following University of Utah football practice in Salt Lake City, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014.

Coach Kyle Whittingham is interviewed following University of Utah football practice in Salt Lake City, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014.

(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham liked what he saw on the first day of preseason camp Monday. Whittingham noted that he was “very encouraged” after the first of 25 practices prior to the Aug. 28 opener against Idaho State.

“This is an exceptional day one,” Whittingham said. “But it’s only day one. We can’t lose sight of that. We’ve got to start stringing them together and putting good practices and good work together consecutively. We’ll see if we’re mentally tough enough to do that.”

Camp continues Tuesday as the Utes progress through the NCAA’s acclimatization period. They’ll be able to wear full pads for the first time on Saturday. That’s also the first scheduled “double day” of camp.

ON THE MEND: Whittingham gave updates on linebackers Gionni Paul (foot) and Jacoby Hale (knee), who were injured in spring ball.

Paul, he explained, is progressing as expected, perhaps even a little ahead of schedule.

“If we can get him by at least, at the latest, the opening of Pac-12 play (Sept. 27, Washington State) that would be great,” Whittingham said. “Sooner than that is a bonus.”

Whittingham added that Hale is still quite a ways out.

“Midseason or something like that,” he said.

BLECHEN’S BACK: After missing all of last season with an injury, senior Brian Blechen is back at strong safety for the Utes. The former Freshman All-American has 203 career tackles (119 solo) and eight interceptions.

“We missed him last year,” Whittingham said. “We missed his physical presence on the field because he’s an intimidating player on defense and it’s great to get him back.”

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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1. Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

That's what we like to hear. Anyone who doesn't think we'll be bowling is just crazy. Coach Christensen puts up 40 points a game - just go look at his stats at Missouri - against power 5 teams!

Defense was never the problem.

We're going to win 2-3 games the "experts" don't have us winning.

7-5 and the best bowl of anyone in the state - I'll be reminding you all year long I called it.



2. Kralon
Aug. 4, 2014

I think it is finally time for Utah to have a winning season and go bowling. Hope springs eternal but sometimes it all does work out.

Go Utes!

3. patriot
Cedar Hills, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

Kyle had better hope for a winning season or he will be looking for a new job....just my prediction.

4. BYUalum
South Jordan, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

Spoken words by a coach who wants to keep his job!

5. Two For Flinching
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

@ Chris B

Defense was a HUGE problem against OSU, Arizona, and WSU last year. Maybe watch a game or two sometime.... You might like it.