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Utah football notes: Second week of spring camp kicks off

Troy Williams throws the ball with Tyler Huntley and Brandon Cox at right during University of Utah spring football practice in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, March 22, 2016.
Troy Williams throws the ball with Tyler Huntley and Brandon Cox at right during University of Utah spring football practice in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, March 22, 2016.
Ravell Call,

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah kicked off its second week of spring camp with a Tuesday afternoon practice at chilly Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes have three practices scheduled per week, capping the 15th and final session with the Red-White Game on Saturday, April 23.

After reviewing the opening week of camp, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham had positive things to say.

“I think we have a chance to be good,” he said.

Whittingham acknowledged that the big question mark on defense is at linebacker. However, he said that sophomore Cody Barton and junior Sunia Tauteoli are stepping up and are the top two right now. Whittingham added that the secondary is playing well. He also continued to praise the forces up front.

As for the offense, Whittingham said they like the progression of the quarterbacks — Brandon Cox, Tyler Huntley and Troy Williams.

“When they have time to throw they’re pretty effective,” Whittingham said. “We’ve got to give them time to throw.”

Whittingham noted that the receiving corps is working hard but took a step backwards Tuesday with too many drops.

“That’s why you practice,” he said. “We’re back out here on Thursday getting after it.”

NO MORE THURSDAYS: Whittingham joked that his decision to close Thursday practices to the media and public for the remaining four weeks of spring camp was made because he thought reporters needed a day off.

In reality, though, Whittingham explained that he did so for a couple of reasons. They include the ability to work on things in a closed setting. Other reasons noted include giving coaches and players a day off from the media and making it easier for student-athletes to get to classes after practice that day.

FLORIDA FRESHMEN: Huntley and wide receiver Damari Simpkins, true freshmen who enrolled in school early after graduating from Hallandale High in Florida, are making quite an impression.

“Having that spring ball and that semester of school under your belt before you even start that first fall as a true freshman is a gigantic advantage and it speaks to what they’ve done throughout their high school career getting them to this point,” Whittingham said.

ON THE CHART: Huntley moved onto this week’s depth chart at quarterback, sharing the top spot with Cox and Williams.

“It just means that I’ve got to keep working and bettering myself every day,” Huntley said. “It just shows that hard work pays off, but I’ve just got to keep working at it at the end of the day.”

EXTRA POINTS: Utah’s next open practice for the general public is scheduled for Friday from 4:30-6:30 p.m., at Rice-Eccles Stadium . . . Redshirt freshman running back Marcel Brooks-Brown now goes by the name Marcel Manalo . . . The Utes have scrimmages scheduled for April 9 and 16 at the stadium, beginning at 10 a.m.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer