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Utah Utes football notebook: Harvey Langi finding his groove

Utah Running back #21 Harvey Langi runs with the ball during practice at Rice Eccles Stadium Tuesday, April 10, 2012.
Utah Running back #21 Harvey Langi runs with the ball during practice at Rice Eccles Stadium Tuesday, April 10, 2012.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah running back Harvey Langi has proven to be quite elusive this spring. The sophomore is successfully dodging reporters after each practice.

The Utes, no doubt, are hoping he'll do the same thing against opposing defenses this fall.

After a disappointing freshman season, Langi is regaining the form he showed while earning All-American recognition at Bingham High.

"He's starting to play the way we envisioned he would when we recruited him out of high school," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "The light switch is starting to come on for Harvey."

Langi is drawing a lot of praise this spring. Whittingham said he's going to be a valuable weapon for the Utes. Besides running the ball, Langi is showing his versatility. He can play fullback and is a receiving threat out of the backfield.

As such, Whittingham noted that Langi will be in some two-back sets with John White and Kelvin York.

"He just likes to be on the field," Whittingham said. "He's a team guy and anything that gets him on the field, he's all for."

Although Langi has added about 10 pounds to his 6-foot-1 frame, the 230-pounder hasn't lost a step. He's still a 4.5 guy in the 40. Whittingham also noted that Langi is much better and tremendously improved with his blitz pick-up.

The overall picture looks brighter for Langi.

At Bingham, Langi finished with 4,289 career rushing yards and 55 touchdowns. In his first season at Utah, he wound up with 70 yards on just 13 carries.

BATTLE IN THE BACKFIELD: Several running backs are doing good things this spring. In addition to White, York and Langi, Jarrell Oliver and Lucky Radley are also performing well.

"That's a position that's got a lot of depth," Whittingham said. "But if we can't count on you to pick up the blitz we have a hard time putting you in the game."

SECOND SCRIMMAGE: Whittingham said Saturday's scrimmage at Rice-Eccles Stadium, slated to start at 10 a.m., will be "very similar" to the one last week. Several standouts like White and Star Lotulelei will once again not participate.

One big difference, though, will be the length. Instead of 97 snaps, this scrimmage is scheduled to consist of 80 plays.

LOOKING AHEAD: After helping bulldoze the old football facility earlier this month, Whittingham acknowledged things aren't the same.

"I spent a lot of hours in that building, probably thousands and thousands of hours, so to see that big void (where) that building sat is very different," he said. "But it's worth it."

Construction on the new facility is ongoing and is expected to be complete in about 13 months.

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