"I don't really listen too much to what everyone and the media says," Manning said. "I'm just out here playing football and doing what I can."
Manning redshirted last season while the Utes struggled to a 5-7 record. There was temptation to let him play when starter Travis Wilson went down with a season-ending injury, but Manning stayed on the sideline and kept all four years of eligibility.
Wilson is the unquestioned starter now, but if he goes down or struggles, will Manning get his shot? So far, he's looked very good in spring practice.
"I ran this type of offense in high school, so I'm very familiar with it," Manning said. "I feel pretty comfortable, I'm just trying to get better, but things are feeling pretty good now."
"He's doing some good things," said head coach Kyle Whittingham. "He's got a lot of poise and his pocket presence is exceptional. That's probably his strong suit is his pocket presence and decision making."
Whittingham is going to have to make some decisions to make himself. Along with Wilson and Manning, Utah also has Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson, incoming freshman Donovan Isom and last year's backup Adam Schulz.
"We've got some quarterback issues to sort out," Whittingham said. "But it's a much better problem to have than the problem we had in the past where we didn't have enough guys."
Manning, who set Southern California records at El Toro High School in Orange County, isn't shying away from the competition.
"Competition is good," he said. "If you don't want to be out here and compete, then why do you play football? So, for us, we're just all having fun."
"Conner is doing a great job," said Wilson. "He definitely learns from his mistakes, and he does a great job in the meeting room learning new things. I'm happy with him."
We'll see how happy Wilson is if Manning eventually takes his job.
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