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Thretton Palamo has the running down and getting physical on the football field comes naturally to him. The one thing the former rugby star is having trouble adjusting to as he begins his career for Utah's football team? Those blasted football pads.

"It feels like I am running with dumbbells on me," he said. "It's pretty rough."

Perhaps the Utes should consider allowing him to play without the pads; he doesn't really seem to need them.

Palamo spent much of his teenage years playing rugby, a sport in which his father excelled in Samoa. Palamo himself joined the US National team and traveled to various corners of the world and played at the World Cup level.

But as good as he was at rugby, Palamo still was interested in giving football a try. He walked on with the Utes due to his relationship with Blake Burdette, a former rugby teammate and now coach of the Utah rugby team.

"We always joked around about me coming here," Palamo said. "I knew I wanted to try and play both sports and Utah has a good reputation so it was a natural fit."

Now the walk on is battling with scholarship running backs John White and Harvey Langi for playing time. The 6-foot-2, 237-pound sophomore is holding his own against the more experienced football players, but even if he doesn't work out at running back, Palamo will have a place on the football team, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

"I'm positive we'll find a place for him," Whittingham said. "He is still on a learning curve but he is a big, physical player."

Back in action

Receiver DeVonte Christopher, who wasn't expected back on the field after injuring his hamstring, has recovered faster than predicted and participated in Thursday's practice. He made several nice catches despite the layoff.

"He's back in a limited role but we didn't think we'd have him back at all," Whittingham said. "He probably won't scrimmage Saturday but he adds another dimension to the offense."

Standing out

Tyron Morris-Edwards, a 6-foot-1, 198-pound freshman out of Alta High, has impressed the coaches at safety. Morris-Edwards started as a receiver but was moved to the defense where the Utes are in need of bodies.

"It looks like he has found a home at safety," Whittingham said. "He has been a good addition for us and it's one more athletic body back there."

Watching the weather

Whittingham said there is a chance the time of Saturday's scrimmage, scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon in Rice-Eccles Stadium, could be moved but it will be held rain, snow or shine in the stadium.

The Utes could start as late as 2 p.m. Whittingham said the start time would be determined Friday.

lwodraska@sltrib.comTwitter: @lyawodraska; @sltributews

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