Utah football notes: Wynn, offense look good in scrimmage
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Utah's offense didn't put up huge numbers in Thursday's scrimmage, but quarterback Jordan Wynn and his teammates did well enough to draw high praise from the Utes' coaches.

Wynn was 9 of 17 for 152 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to Luke Matthews.

DeVonte Christopher led the receivers with four catches for 102 yards, and Matthews had two catches for 34 yards.

"It felt really good to finally go against the defense the whole time," Matthews said.

The Utes fumbled twice on exchanges, and backup Jon Hays struggled, going 4 of 12 for 27 yards with three interceptions, but those mistakes didn't ruin the overall effort.

"It was one of our more efficient scrimmages in fall camp in recent years," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "The offense did some nice things. It was great to have Jordan back. The first two drives were 16 and 13 plays, so that is a big positive — the sustained drives."

Wynn, whose throws have been limited in practice, felt good about his performance, other than a fumble on the exchange with center Tevita Stevens.

"I have to complete more passes, but it was a step in the right track," he said. "It was a good scrimmage, overall."

The battle at running back saw two players separate themselves.

John White rushed 12 times for 47 yards, and Tauni Vakapuna had seven carries for 42 yards and a touchdown as those two players have moved ahead on the depth chart.

Freshman Harvey Langi rushed seven times for only 10 yards, and Thretton Palamo rushed eight times for 21 yards.

Vakapuna, who returned to the team this summer after leaving it last year due to family reasons, hasn't done anything differently than he did last year when he rushed 19 times for 79 yards, Whittingham said. He is just making the most of the chances given to him.

"What we are seeing now is a lot of what we were seeing last fall," Whittingham said. "It was just that Matt [Asiata] and Eddie [Wide] were ahead of him, and he didn't get much of an opportunity."

Emerging stars

Freshman defensive end Nate Fakahafua continues to be one of the surprises of camp and stood out Thursday with a sack and 23-yard interception return.

The Utes are very deep at defensive end, but Whittingham said Fakahafua will play.

"He is a guy with a ton of potential," he said.

Mo Lee, a junior receiver turned corner, is doing well enough to push for a starting role, Whittingham said.

O-line timeline

The Utes don't have any immediate plans to move any defensive linemen to the offense to fill in for injured players Sam Brenner (elbow), Latu Heimuli (thumb) and Isaac Asiata (ankle).

Asiata should be back in several days, Brenner should return in seven to 10 days and Heimuli is expected to return in a few weeks, Whittingham said.

Until they return, sophomore Vyncent Jones, freshman Saiosi Aiono and other inexperienced players will get reps.

lwodraska@sltrib.com —

Practice points

What we learned • Utah's offense made its share of mistakes, but overall, it continues to progress the way the coaches had hoped it would.

Who was hot • Mo Lee, a 6-foot, 190-pound junior, is challenging for a starting role at corner. John White and Tauni Vakapuna are the leading candidates for the running back position.

Who was not • The offense's second unit is far behind the first, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. That gap has to close in the coming weeks, he said.