Join the conversation: CFB Saturday Live

NCF Nation: Griff Robles

SALT LAKE CITY -- You can't watch one practice and thereby know a team. But that won't stop me from making a handful of quick observations on the Utes.
  • It was a good practice to watch: full-pads, lots of hitting. Day turned out beautiful after morning snow but practice was still indoors.
  • It seemed like there were more nice moments running the ball than passing the ball, but that should be expected with a pair of inexperienced backups trying to learn coordinator Norm Chow's West Coast offense. One observer noted that the play-action looks particularly needed work.
  • If I were forced to guess, I'd say true freshman quarterback Tyler Shreve is at least even with sophomore Griff Robles in their competition to back up Jordan Wynn.
  • One of my early thoughts was, "Utah passes the eye test. It looks like a Pac-12 team." Then I looked up at banners celebrating a pair of unbeaten seasons capped by BCS bowl wins. But of course Utah passes the eye test.
  • Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was listed at 330 pounds on the November depth chart. He now carries 310 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frames. He's a load and moves well. My guess is more than a few interior Pac-12 offensive linemen are going to wish he stayed in the Mountain West Conference.
  • Been hearing some good things about redshirt freshman tight end Jake Murphy, but the last name didn't register much until it was pointed out to me that the tall man standing near me was his father, Dale Murphy. If you grew up in Atlanta during the '80s, it didn't get much bigger than Murphy, the two-time National League MVP for the Braves. His other son, Shawn, is now playing for the Denver Broncos. It was a bit surreal having a casual conversation with a childhood hero. Really nice guy; just like his longstanding reputation.

Utah notes: Wynn getting healthy

March, 28, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn, who had shoulder surgery in December, will start throwing next week, coach Kyle Whittingham said.

Wynn will toss only short throws with a trainer and won't practice with the Utes this spring, but Whittingham said that Wynn's rehabilitation is "very much on schedule, if not ahead of schedule."

With Wynn out, sophomore Griff Robles and true freshman Tyler Shreve (a grayshirt) have been getting all the work with the first-team offense as they compete to back up Wynn in 2011. In just five practices, Shreve has shown enough that he's squarely in the hunt.

"He's progressed," Whittingham said. "He's a kid who has a strong arm. He sat out last season so he's a little rusty."

Some more notes:
  • Whittingham on the move of Brian Blechen from safety to linebacker: "It's very obvious that's where he belongs."
  • The running back competition is down to three guys: John White, Harvey Langi and Thretton Palamo. Luke Matthews had been listed as a running back but Whittingham said he's become more of a "slash" player: a receiver/running back.
  • In fact, it appears new offensive coordinator Norm Chow is bringing the "F-back" hybrid position to Utah. In the latest depth chart, Matthews and tight end Jake Murphy were listed as "fullbacks." In the previous depth chart, receiver Mo Lee also was listed there.
  • Boo Anderson has moved back to linebacker after starting spring as a fullback.
  • Whittingham seemed to be feeling pretty good about his front seven, particularly defensive tackles Star Lotulelei -- Whittingham said he's "the anchor of the defensive line" -- and James Aiono.
  • When asked for some standout redshirt freshmen so far this spring, Whittingham listed Murphy, receivers Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott, linebackers V.J.Fehoko and Jacoby Hale, and safety Terrell Reese.

Will have more after practice.

Utah QB Jordan Wynn out for spring

December, 6, 2010
Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn is not only out for the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas against Boise State with a shoulder injury, but will miss all of spring practice.

Coach Kyle Whittingham said on a conference call Monday that Wynn would need at least six months recovery time for the undisclosed injury to his throwing shoulder. Whittingham said Wynn initially got hurt against Iowa State on Oct. 9, but he had been cleared medically to play. Wynn re-injured it against BYU in the season finale and had an MRI that revealed the injury. But nobody knows exactly when or how his shoulder was hurt so badly.

Surgery is set for Dec. 13.

"You can’t tell if it was a cumulative effect or when it happened," Whittingham said.

Senior Terrance Cain will start the bowl game, but the situation leaves Utah thin at quarterback for the spring. Redshirt freshman Griff Robles will serve as the backup to Cain against Boise State and will go into the spring as the team's most experienced quarterback.

Utah has few worries at QB

April, 19, 2010
Utah sophomore quarterback Jordan Wynn will be re-evaluated today, but it looks like the Utes' starter is going to be OK after suffering a shoulder injury during the spring game on Saturday.

On the second play of the game, Wynn injured his left (non-throwing) shoulder by diving into a pile to recover a fumble.

Wynn left the game and did not return.
"He shouldn't have dove in there for that fumble but he did," coach Kyle Whittingham said after the game. "He came out with his left shoulder banged up but the X-rays were negative and everything looks good. He'll probably be sore for a few days."

Wynn already had been nursing a sore biceps that had limited him in several practices.

However, Wynn’s absence provided an opportunity for backups Terrance Cain and Griff Robles to create a little competition buzz as the Utes head into the summer.

Cain, who started most of the 2009 season before being replaced by Wynn with four games remaining, won the game for the Red team, 28-23.

Cain completed 14 of 16 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns, including a 61-yard touchdown strike to Griffin McNabb. Cain also led the team in rushing with five carries for 51 yards. His only blemish was an interception.

Robles completed 18 of 26 passes for 234 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

While Whittingham encourages competition, he’s never wavered from Wynn being the starter. Having the next couple of months off to rest before summer workouts will be good for Wynn, who’s still trying to add more weight so he doesn’t get knocked around as easily.

But if injuries continue to plague Wynn into the season, the Utes have to feel good about the guys they have behind him.