Utes: Cain making QB battle interesting

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Utah's quarterback battle has suddenly gotten interesting again.

Freshman Jordan Wynn , who was anointed the No. 1 quarterback after a scrimmage a week ago, is being pushed by transfer Terrance Cain for the role.

Both quarterbacks will get about 40 snaps each in today's scrimmage at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Last week, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Wynn would get 85-to-90 percent of the snaps with the No. 1 offense, but Cain's improved play has made him change those plans.

"Terrance has had an excellent last two days," Whittingham said. "Like I said, it's a competition, nobody is a starter and it's what you've done lately and Terrance has earned the right to take more snaps. Now they're basically splitting snaps and we'll see how it goes."

Cain, the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year for Blinn Community College in Houston, struggled with his passing earlier in camp but said he is getting more and more confident.

He isn't conceding defeat in the quarterback battle by any means.

"I'm going to keep competing on and on," he said. "I'm a competitor, I'll never stop competing."

The quarterback battle is the most undecided spot for the Utes. While Whittingham said today's scrimmage was an important one for both players, he stressed it wasn't going to be more important than any other day.

"It won't completely define the situation, but it's one more step in the process of evaluating," he said.

Unlike their deadline for establishing a quarterback depth chart, which was pegged for the first scrimmage, the Utes are in no hurry to decide who will be the starter.

"The better Terrance plays the more he gets and the better Jordan plays the more he gets," Whittingham said of the snaps.

Playing the role

Utah senior safety Robert Johnson has a role of being Utah's big playmakers on defense, getting four interceptions in 2008 against ranked opponents and starring for the defense in a grindfest of a game at New Mexico.

He plans to resume that role when the season starts, but for now he is focusing on something else during fall camp, the role of mentor.

Johnson remembers when he first arrived at Utah he didn't know his teammates let alone the schemes.

Now he is trying to help the other newcomers make that transition.

" Steve Tate took me under his wing and it helped me a bunch," he said. "I'm trying to do that with the new kids. I've been working with them and hanging out with them off the field."

Johnson believes the effort will make Utah's defense as tight of a unit as it was last season.

"It's just a lot easier when you know what guys like and don't like," he said.

For himself, Johnson hopes to finish his career with a big year and prove he earned the all-MWC preseason honors. He has added about 10 pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame.

"I've been working hard," he said. "I want to show why I'm the No. 1 safety in the conference."


Copper Hills grad Kendrick Moeai has moved into the No. 2 spot at tight end behind Chris Joppru ...Freshman cornerback Chris Washington , who was having a solid camp, is out for the season with a shoulder injury and will have surgery on Aug. 20.


Camp Corner

What we learned » The Utes feel confident enough about many starters to hold them out of Tuesday's scrimmage so as not to risk injury.

Who was hot » Backup defensive tackles Dave Kruger and Latu Heimuli both had good days Monday, as did receiver DeVonte Christopher.

Who was sidelined » Backup running back Eddie Wide is hampered by a hamstring pull.