Ravell Call , Ravell Call
Troy Williams looks to pass during University of Utah football practice in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said it was a necessity to try and get some separation. The quarterback competition is that tight as the Utes closed in on the final three weeks of preparation before their season opener Aug. 31 against North Dakota.
On Wednesday, the quarterbacks saw live action — taking hits as part of their audition for the starting job.
“It was good, get a little contact in there. You’ve just got to be ready for when the season comes,” said returning starter Troy Williams, who is getting a vast majority of the reps in practice along with sophomore Tyler Huntley. “But it was good to go out there with the defense and get some live action.”
Whittingham noted the importance of doing so.
“It’s so close that to get your true evaluation, your absolutely best evaluation, you go live,” he said. “Then you can see escapability, who can extend plays and make plays.”
That included the QB run game and who was most effective at it.
“We saw some things that we were able to evaluate,” Whittingham said. “But no cut and dried, you know, clear cut picture of how the hierarchy should be.”
Utah is relatively deep at the position with Alabama transfer Cooper Bateman also in the mix. Even so, Whittingham acknowledged that live work is the absolute best evaluation but it’s also the riskiest.
As such, the quarterbacks likely won’t go live in Saturday’s scrimmage — perhaps only doing so in a limited capacity like a red zone drill.
Whittingham said it’s too early to talk about a two-quarterback system.