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Weddle, White team beat Red 18-10

Eric Weddle made his coaching debut Saturday in the sixth-annual Red & White game, leading the White team to an 18-10 victory. Not bad, for a first time head coach.

Though this year's spring game lacked the flair of years past, Weddle's appearance helped make up for the fact many starters were sitting out nursing injuries. Running the White team's offense was Chad Manis, who finished the day completing 6-of-13 passes for 68 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Whites actually rolled to an 18-0 lead, before holding off the Reds, who were led by DeVonte Christopher. Christopher finished with a game-high 84-yards on the ground, but only completed 2-of-7 passes for 28 yards. He also threw an interception.

Utah's presumed starting quarterback Brian Johnson, who worked with both teams, connected on 2-of-4 passes for 23 yeards, he too was intercepted. Johnson, though, only played one series each for both sides.

Manis was behind all three of the White team's scoring Saturday, throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Brown, while also rushing it into the end zone twice from 8 and 5-yards out.

Even though Utah was lacking its important backs, the ground game looked fairly solid Saturday. Eddie Wide ran for 65-yards while Ray Stowers finished with 50 and a touchdown. Out of the receivers, Freddie Brown managed the best game, as he had the lone touchdown reception of the day.

On defense, the White's Chaz Walker returned an interception 56 yards, while also recovering a fumble. Lisiate Leota, who played for both teams, had 4-tackles and an interception, while Toby Titus had 7-tackles to lead the white.

The play of the day, though, came from former Ute Eric Weddle. After Manins ran in a touchdown, Weddle set up for the PAT, which was then subsequently blocked and then recovered by Justin Taplin-Ross, who then pitched it to Sean Smith. Noticing the chance of giving up a score, Weddle, in street clothes, sprinted after Smith down the sidelines, following him into the end zone, failing to prevent the score. It was a moment that brought great cheer from the crowd and probably would give the San Diego Chargers a conniption fit if they saw the play transpire.

In the end, it was a fairly uneventful spring game, as most of Utah's starters sat out. It's impossible to gauge how good this team will be, but at least Utah got through spring practice relatively healthy, as linebacker Jamel King was the only serious injury, with his torn anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that has forced him to sit out the 2008 season.

The following players did not play:

  • Red Team: WR Brent Casteel, WR Elijah Wesson, DE Paul Kruger, QB Corbin Louks, LB Mike Wright, DB Terrell Cole, DB Tysen Clements, LB Tatum Drecksel, OL Tyler Williams, DT Isley Filiaga.
  • White Team: RB Matt Asiata, RB Darrell Mack, LB Stevenson Sylvester, DB Robert Johnson, DB Grayson Dart, DE Koa Misi, LB Jamel King, DT Greg Newman, WR John Peel, WR Mike Hicken, DT Kenape Eliapo.

The Red & White game wrapped up Utah's spring practice and was the last football fix until fall camp later in the summer. Then it's on to the 2008 football season and Utah's opener against Michigan.