It was a beautiful day up at Rice-Eccles Stadium today, as the Utes took the field for their first scrimmage of the spring. It was a spirited scrimmage, but it was really evident, especially for the offense, that they are still missing some key cogs to their operation.
Here's a quick recap, and some observations from today's scrimmage:
The offense will be more aggressive with Aaron Roderick calling the plays. The very first play from scrimmage today, Travis Wilson pitched the ball to Bubba Poole and a receiver reverse, very similar to what we've seen Utah do in the past. As a unit, the first team offense was hit and miss today, of course the first team defense is really, really good, so that plays into it.
Wilson had a solid day going 10-of-19 for 98 yards and a touchdown. He wasn't helped by some of receivers, as there were a couple of drops out on the field, including a big drop early in practice on a 3rd and long play when Wilson hit Delshawn McClellon for an easy first down conversion, about 15 yards down the field, but McClellon couldn't come away with the catch.
There was a lot of misdirection with screens today, as there were a couple of instances where the QB, whether it was Wilson or Chase Hansen, fake a screen to either a running back or wide receiver, and then throw to the other side of the field to usually an open man.
The one touchdown that was recorded
Chase Hansen started very strong today for the No. 2
The offensive line struggled at times today, as both Wilson and Hansen would get flushed really quickly. Not a major concern for me at this point, but they need to shore up the lineup and solidify the unit going into fall.
Other notable news on the offense today, Raelon Singleton was back on the field after some injury issues. Also, Tim Patrick was in pads and was running some drills before the scrimmage. Monte Seabrook, who has moved all over the field, saw some nice time at running back today, and had some flashes.
What a unit, I'll tell you what. They are nasty and just fly to the ball.
There's not a lot to say about the defensive line, as they are
Dominique Hatfield was his solid self, and Reggie Porter looked good by-in-large, but did get beat by K Scott a couple of times when they were matched up.
Overall, a strong scrimmage, that will give the coaches a lot to work with going into the last couple of weeks of spring and into the fall.
Also, there was a special visitor that is a bit of a 'free agent' that was a member of a Pac-12 South rival, Alex will cover that a bit more in a separate write up.
Overall, I thought it was a good effort for the first scrimmage in
Running back Devontae Booker was held out for obvious reasons, so that takes away the offense's best weapon. Walk on redshirt freshman running back
The quarterbacks started strong and then faded a bit by the end. Wilson and Hansen were both in white no contact jerseys and Conner Manning and Donovan Isom were both live. Wilson finished 10 of 19 for 98 yards and one touchdown. Wilson overall looked better than Hansen today. Hansen has a lot of
Scott had the best day, recording the only receiving touchdown. Singleton had a nice 33 yard reception. It was good to see him back. Overall though, too many drops from the wide receivers and not enough separation in their routes.
I liked all of the misdirection that I saw from the offense. Even if it did not gain a ton of yards, it will keep the opposing defense honest and not allow them to just stack the box against Booker. Booker is obviously the workhorse for the offense, but finding a guy who will be the second option will be key to help take pressure off DB23.
This defense looks to have the potential to be special. I am really impressed with the intensity they play with. They are fast and physical. Even missing
I was really impressed with former quarterback turned safety Jason Thompson. He made several plays to break up potential touchdown passes. He plays with instincts and is not afraid to lay a hit. Thompson, Brian Allen, and Hatfield all recorded a pass breakup. Not many passes were completed on Hatfield today. He is also a leader on the defense and plays with a lot of emotion.
The defense is ahead of the offense, which is to be expected. The offense is missing guys from the current recruiting class that are likely to contribute like running back Joseph Williams and wide receivers Deniko Carter and Kyle Fulks.
Hear from Utah coach Kyle Whittingham by clicking the link below: