SALT LAKE CITY — Sunday rolled around at a good time for the 24th-ranked Utah Utes. They were able to take a break after three days of camp.
"Get away, get rested — recharge your mind as well as your body," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told his players. "A day of down time does a lot of good."
Especially with a demanding week ahead.
After a half-padded practice on Monday, the Utes will don full gear Tuesday and have their first two-a-day on Wednesday. The initial scrimmage is set for Thursday.
"I think we're right on schedule. We are happy where we're at relative to it being Day 3," Whittingham said while noting there's still a lot to do in terms of execution and timing. "But three days out I think we're in good shape."
On Saturday, the Utes added shoulder pads to the helmets and shorts they sported while working through the NCAA-mandated acclimatization period.
"There's a lot of banging, a lot of physicality to it and so we'll crank up the inside run drills and the things that are very physical," Whittingham said. "Football in shorts is one thing and when you put the pads on you see a little bit of separation."
Although he wanted to evaluate the practice tape to find out exactly who did what, Whittingham was pleased with Saturday's showing.
"It was good competition and a very spirited practice" he said. "That's what football is all about."
Whittingham said things will start to pare down in the next little while. Utah's season opener is Sept. 2 at Rice-Eccles Stadium against No. 15 Pittsburgh and the depth chart will begin solidifying soon.
"We like to get a good 7-10 practices in before we start making any definitive decisions — unless it's very obvious and very apparent," Whittingham said. "We want to give everyone an opportunity."