SALT LAKE CITY — Utah fans haven’t seen running back Armand Shyne since he left last season’s win over Arizona with an unspecified, season-ending leg injury.
The junior, one of three running backs listed as co-starters on the Utes’ pre-camp depth chart, said he is nearly 100 percent healthy again.
“I don’t feel it much. I still go in for treatment just so it doesn’t get any worse but I just keep it consistent,” he said.
Coach Kyle Whittingham immediately identified Shyne as his lead back on Monday when discussing the running back group.
“He’s had a very good first three days,” Whittingham said of Shyne. “Zack Moss is doing a nice job, and Devonta’e Henry-Cole as well. And TJ Green, the freshman, all four of those guys are very talented.”
Shyne said the biggest difference he’s seen in first-year offensive coordinator Troy Taylor's system so far is the speed and tempo it requires.
“(You’ve) just got to be better conditioned for it,” he said.
Standouts at cornerback: Whittingham pointed to several players who’ve stood out when he was asked about who was contending for the cornerback positions.
“Julian Blackmon, Casey Hughes have been outstanding. Jaylon Johnson is as advertised, a big-time corner out of California. Tyrone Smith has been hampered by injury but shouldn’t be more than another day or two. Nygel King has been doing a nice job, Boobie Hobbs at the nickel spot. Javelin Guidry has been doing a good job,” the coach said.
“We’ve got a whole bunch of guys. That position has really been rebuilt and supplemented over the last few years.”
Singleton sidelined for now: Utah wide receivers coach Guy Holliday said junior Raelon Singleton, the team’s leading returning receiver with 464 yards and four touchdowns in 2016, is currently out with an injury.
“Unfortunately, he tweaked a soft tissue muscle. He’ll be back within hopefully three or four days,” Holliday said. “We’re going to move him around a little bit, put him inside, out and try to take advantage of his size and strength.”
Extra points: Senior quarterback Troy Williams completed a pair of long passes during the portion of practice open to the media on Monday. On the first play media could watch, Williams hit senior wide receiver Kyle Fulks with a pass along the sideline on the near side of the field, with Fulks making the catch over his shoulder.
Later on, Williams went to the opposite side of the field and completed a long pass to sophomore Tyquez Hampton who caught it in stride.
The defense also had its own big play when senior nickel back Boobie Hobbs intercepted a pass thrown by freshman quarterback Jason Shelley.