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The Utah Utes' offense saved one of its best performances of camp for the last day as quarterback Jordan Wynn and Co. did a much better job in the situational drills than they have in the past.
Wynn was 8-of-12 for 128 yards with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kenneth Scott while backup quarterback Jon Hays was 11-of-13 for 133 yards with touchdown passes of 12 yards to Griff McNabb and 13 yards to Nick Brown.
However, the plays that impressed coach Kyle Whittingham the most were the ones in the 2-minute drill in which Utah avoided the mistakes that have been plaguing it throughout camp.
"The two-minute situations is often where you win ballgames, so you have to be efficient there and that was the best two-minute drill of all fall camp. We need to continue that."
Tight end Jake Murphy made a great diving catch and finished with four receptions for 31 yards. The Utes had 14 receivers catch passes. Hays completed his first 11 passes and there were few dropped balls.
"We went out and did what we needed to do," said Wynn, who missed two days of practice earlier in the week with the flu. "The offense was happy at the end of practice but we deserved it. We went out and worked hard and got done what we needed to get done."
Having Wynn for three practice sessions in a row and getting offensive lineman Sam Brenner back from injury were keys to Saturday's play, Whittingham said.
"We needed to see that, badly," he said of the mistake-free play. "We don't have many opportunities to do this going forward where we are live. We will do the mechanics of it, but not rep it live. I feel a lot better. We have caught up and we are where we want to be."
Running back stable
John White rushed seven times for 17 yards including an 11-yard run, Harvey Langi rushed five times for seven yards and Thretton Palamo had six carries for 67 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown.
The running back depth chart remains the same with White No. 1, Tauni Vakapuna No. 2 and Langi, Palamo and Karl Williams battling for the No. 3 spot.
Whittingham said there is a chance that Palamo could be moved to another position in order to get him on the field.
"He is too good to not utilize somewhere," he said. "He is a guy who is still learning the game, so you don't want to pull the trigger too quickly. If he had a lot of experience we may have already made that move, but he still has a lot of potential he hasn't reached yet."
Kicking game still unclear
The kicking battle is almost even again as walk-on Coleman Petersen missed field goals of 30, 39 and 47 yards while Nick Marsh made all eight of his, including two from 50 yards.
"We thought Coleman was the leader but Nick Marsh had the better day today," Whittingham said. "We have 12 days to figure out who is kicking, but it's neck and neck right now."
Ex-Baylor receiver in SLC
Josh Gordon, a junior receiver who has left the Baylor program, is in Salt Lake City and soon could be joining the Utes.
Gordon, a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder who was the Bears' second-leading receiver in 2010 with 42 catches for 714 yards and seven touchdowns, was suspended indefinitely before preseason camp began and was arrested last October after being found in a car that had marijuana inside it.
Following his departure from the Baylor team, Gordon got in touch with Utah's coaches to see if they had a spot for him.
Utah's coaches have been doing a background check on Gordon, who would have to sit out a year before he could play.
What we learned • As much improvement as backup quarterback Jon Hays has shown through camp, the Utes' offense still runs much better with Jordan Wynn at the helm. Having the quarterback for three practice sessions in a row was the key to Utah's improved play, coach Kyle Whittingham said.
Who was hot • Wynn ran the offense with confidence in the 2-minute drill, prompting coaches to call it the best effort in that drill of all fall camp.
Who was not • The kicking battle remains open as Coleman Petersen was 7-for-10 and Nick Marsh was 8-for-8 to pull even with Petersen again in the race.