Utah football: Utes struggle with tempo
Utah notes • Team may have hit wall following five days of practice.
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The Utah Utes' conversion to a fast tempo has been going well — until they needed to go fast.

The Utes, who got in some live work for the first time of fall camp Friday, weren't happy with the efficiency.

"It wasn't what we wanted to see, we have to get better," Utah offensive co-coordinator Dennis Erickson said.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham put the blame on the offensive line, noting players were walking around and slowing down.

"Nothing happens until the O-line gets set," he said. "They have to get lined up and get going."

Whittingham attributed part of Friday's effort to it being the fifth day of camp, believing the team "hit a wall."

"The newness of getting onto the field and practicing has worn off, and yet there is no light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Despite the disappointment in the live work, Erickson said he was overall happy with the way the offense is developing.

"Travis [Wilson] has been playing really well, and we are doing a good job running the ball," he said.

Standouts on the offense continue to be receivers Kenneth Scott and Dres Anderson and tight ends Westlee Tonga and Jake Murphy.

Battle continues

While senior Kelvin York continues to separate himself from the other backs, the battle for the No. 2 spot continues to be competitive, Whittingham said.

James Poole, a 6-foot, 196-pound sophomore, has had several good days of practice but still hasn't edged too far ahead of Lucky Radley, Karl Williams or the others.

"It's a great battle," Whittingham said.

Adding depth, maybe

Utah's coaches continue to be excited about the presence of linebacker Gionni Paul, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior who transferred to Utah following his departure from Miami.

Expectations are he'll redshirt due to NCAA transfer rules. However, there is a slim chance he could play if expected NCAA sanctions against Miami allow transfers to play immediately.

Whittingham knows the chances of such a scenario are slim, but said Paul has shown enough in camp that he would play immediately.

The Utes could use another linebacker because tendinitis continues to slow Brian Blechen, who is only at 60 percent, in Whittingham's estimation.

Blechen, a senior, has a redshirt year available, although the Utes hope to have his experience in the lineup.

The rest of the linebackers on the depth chart are junior V.J. Fehoko, sophomore LT Filiaga, sophomore Jared Norris and freshman Uaea Masina.

Roster changes

Freshman defensive end Moses Folauhola's career is over due to undisclosed medical reasons. On Thursday, the Utes announced safety Reshawn Hooker's career was over due to concussions. Whittingham said Folauhola's departure was not concussion-related.

The Utes have brought in freshman Clarence Smith out of Arizona to help with the depth issues on defense. He wasn't scheduled to join the team until January.

lwodraska@sltrib.com