While Utah's coaches weren't thrilled with what they saw in Utah's first day of live work, one player stood out for his efforts.
Senior Karl Williams was hard to miss as he smacked down one defender after another, running for tough yards.
The 6-foot, 243-pound Williams isn't even being mentioned as a possibility for a role in Utah's running back plans for 2013, but he is determined to earn some carries.
If he keeps performing like he has in spring play so far, it will be hard for coaches to overlook him.
"My goal is to get more carries this year in the one-back set," he said. "I know I'll be involved in pass protection a lot, but I want to show them I can run the ball."
Williams primarily played at fullback in 2012, finishing the season with seven rushes for 37 yards and nine catches for 83 yards.
Right now he is behind senior Kelvin York, junior Lucky Radley and sophomore James Poole on the depth chart at running back, but is drawing attention for his play, particularly while York is limited with a case of turf toe.
"What I like about Karl is he is the same guy every day; he is very consistent," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "You always know what you are going to get. With his work ethic and concentration, there are never any ups and downs, he is practicing at a high level and that is what you want to see."
Whittingham said he wants Williams to lose about 10 pounds to hit an ideal weight. Williams has other plans, making a 20-pound loss his goal.
It isn't a surprise a guy who feels a little slighted by a lack of a presence on the depth chart wants to go above and beyond what is expected.
"I know I have some work ahead of me, but I have lost five pounds pretty fast," he said. I have the chicken salads my wife makes so I know I am on a good diet. I just have to keep running hard and proving myself."
As for York, he remains the No. 1 guy, although his practices have been limited.
"He is gutting it up and practicing when a lot of guys wouldn't be out there," Whittingham said.
Senior Brian Blechen is penciled in as a starter at safety, but Whittingham hinted there is a chance he could see time at linebacker, as he has in the past.
The decision will be made after Tevin Carter, a 6-foot-1, 213-pound transfer from L.A. Southwest College joins the team this summer. The Utes hope Carter can step into a starting role if need be. If he can handle the starting role, it sounds like Whittingham would prefer to leave Blechen as a linebacker.
"We didn't have the luxury of leaving Brian at linebacker last year," Whittingham said.
Carter won the Los Angeles City title in the 200 meters as a high school senior and was second in the 100.
His time of 21.21 in the 200 was the second-fastest time in California in 2009.
The Utes also plan to move sophomore Jason Whittingham from linebacker to defensive end when he returns in the fall from shoulder surgery, and returnee Trevor Reilly, expected to start at left end, will play at both linebacker and defensive end.
Whittingham continues to be encouraged by the offensive line, noting on Thursday the starting five are doing a better job as a unit than last year's team. Slipping a bit, in his estimation, were the receivers.
"We are having too many drops than we usually do," he said. "They have been more sure-handed."