clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Utah Spring Football Scrimmage No.1 Recap

New, 27 comments
Daniel Spight

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:

Shane's impessions:

Offense:

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 for Travis Wilson, came on two great throws down the field to Kenneth Scott. The first was about a 20 or so yard comeback route by Scott on the sideline, when Scott caught the ball while leaning out of bounds. The next play, the defense blitzed the corner covering Scott, Wilson read it immediately and threw a great fade to Scott in the corner of the end zone for about a 15 yard touchdown catch.

Chase Hansen started very strong today for the No. 2 offense. Hansen shows a very strong pocket presence, and of course can run the ball well. Hansen had a hand full of nice plays today to keep the offense moving. A notable one was when Hansen escaped a sure sack, rolled out and throw about a 30 yard strike to Harrison Handley, but Handley dropped the ball. Hansen did tail off at the end of the day, but had a good day overall by going 9-of-20 for 90 yards.

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.

Defense

What a unit, I'll tell you what. They are nasty and just fly to the ball. Uaea Masina was strong today at linebacker, and looks to be a rotation player. He had a great sack on Chase Hansen, where he gashed through the line of scrimmage, and had Hansen dead to rights.

There's not a lot to say about the defensive line, as they are unblockable at times. Hunter Dimick was his normal self, getting into the backfield, but the highlight was from Pita Taumoepeuno, who blew up Chase Hansen on one play, as he was in the backfield before the line could really react. Pita is a beast, and he's bulked up a bit. If he keeps his speed and bulks up, watch out. Gionni Paul was running around, but never saw live action. Tevin Carter spent much of the day with the No. 2 defense, and he laid the absolute wood on a fourth or fifth string running back, frankly not a fair matchup.

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.

Alex's impressions:

Overall, I thought it was a good effort for the first scrimmage in spring. The offense clearly has a ways to go before they open the season against Michigan.

Offense

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 Tani Leha'uli looked good carrying the ball with the first team offense. Poole got some carries as well. He is dangerous in open space but can dance too much in the backfield. Head coach Kyle Whittingham said the plan is for Poole to play slot receiver solely this season, which I feel is a better fit for his skills. He had a nice 20 yard run and catch today. Seabrook showed good speed getting around the edge and turned a few rushes into positive gains when it looked like a surefire loss, but he did have a fumble. He did have the longest run of the day, going for 11 yards.

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 potential but is still raw and had some bad misses. Neither quarterback threw an interception.

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.

Defense

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 Gionni Paul (who is expected back on Tuesday), they still look great. Linebacker Sunia Tauleloi led the team with three tackles for loss. After practice, Whittingham commented how he plays similar to Paul. Safety Andre Godfrey, Masina, linebacker Jared Norris, and Dimick and Taumoepenu all had at least half a tackle for loss as well with Masina and Taumoepenu both recording a sack. The defense also did a nice job shutting down rushing lanes. They did not allow any running back to rush for 4 yards per carry.

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:

Head Coach Kyle Whittingham