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Utes open spring practice with fast tempo

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - The Utes football team opened spring practice with new co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson and his fast-paced offense.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Springtime brings new beginnings and fresh starts. That is exactly what the Utes football team needs.

Coming off a disappointing 5-7 season in 2012, a season in which the Utes failed to make a bowl game for the first time since 2002, the Utes welcomed a chance to start over.

"It seems like forever since we've been out here," said head coach Kyle Whittingham. "It was good to finally get back out here. Players were very eager and very willing. There was a great tempo throughout the whole practice, which is what you want to see."

Much of that could be attributed to new co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson. He began implementing a much faster-paced offensive system which could take some getting used to. The Utes offense isn't there yet, but there is time.

"We'll get to a pretty good point at the end of spring football," Erickson said. "We'll have a couple different speeds. We're not going to be going all out like Oregon does every series. That's just not what we are. We'll do that some with the different formations that we'll use. But we're going to go hurry up."

Travis Wilson starts spring as the Utes starting quarterback, unlike last year when he was third string. But after starting the final seven games of the 2012 season, Wilson feels much better about his skills this spring.

"I felt really good," Wilson said. "I definitely feel a lot more comfortable just with the experience that I had last year. We have a great group of wide receivers out here that I've been working with a lot. So, I think we're going to have a great season."

Wilson admitted he hasn't fully grasped Erickson's system just yet, but he thinks that will come with time.

"He's a really good coach," Wilson said about Erickson. "I think he's a great addition to this coaching staff and he's going to help us a lot."

With 13 starters back, Utah has experience. But they will have to almost completely revamp the defensive line, and with John White gone, the Utes running game falls into the hands of Kelvin York.

"I'm better conditioned," York said. "Everything with the new offense is up tempo, so you have to be in great shape. That's what I've been working on."

The Utes will practice 15 times during the spring, culminating in the Red-White scrimmage at Rice-Eccles Stadium April 20th.
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