If sophomore running back Thretton Palamo didn't win the No. 1 job during the University of Utah's first scrimmage of spring practice Friday night, he came close.
Palamo carried 16 times for 73 yards at Rice-Eccles Stadium a physical performance that caught the eye of coach Kyle Whittingham.
After saying Palamo "ran the ball hard," Whittingham was asked if he separated himself from the other two primary running back candidates, freshman Harvey Langi and junior college transfer John White.
Langi carried 12 times for 34 yards.
White finished with 29 yards on 10 carries.
"We'll watch the tapes to make any definitive conclusions," Whittingham said. "But [Palamo] ran hard and certainly had a lot of attempts. He got a lot of opportunities and it looks like he made the most of it."
Overall, Whittingham said, "I think we did some good things today. Some of the positives: We did not put the ball on the ground no fumbles and there were very few penalties. And I thought we tackled pretty good."
At quarterback, sophomore Griff Robles and freshman Tyler Shreve continued to battle for the No. 2 job behind Jordan Wynn, who is sidelined this spring after shoulder surgery.
Robles completed 8 of 15 passes for 102 yards and three touchdowns. He threw the scrimmage's only interception.
Shreve ended up 6 of 13 for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
"The quarterbacks progressed a little bit," Whittingham said. "There's still a long ways to go. But for the first live work first extensive live work I thought it was pretty good." Robles, who is from Spanish Fork, thought Utah's offense took a step forward."We improved a lot today," he said. "When you get in real situations and run real football plays, that happens. But there is definitely room to improve. There are a lot of things I need to improve on."
Defensively, Whittingham thought end Joe Kruger was "exceptional."
Behind Kruger, sophomore Brian Blechen continues to work on his move from safety to linebacker.
"The defense did some good things," Blechen said. "We made a couple mental mistakes but no huge, big errors that we were seeing earlier in the week. So, definitely, it was a good day."
Blechen's position switch is going well.
"The biggest thing right now is staying fast and keep gaining weight," he said. "Every week they watch me to make sure I keep eating and gaining weight."
Blechen weighed in at 226 pounds before the spring's first scrimmage.
The rushing statistics from Utah's scrimmage Friday:
Player Att Yds TDs Long
Thretton Palamo 16 73 0 9
Harvey Langi 12 34 0 5
John White IV 10 29 0 6
Lucky Radley 2 11 0 7