Utah football took the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium today for the first scrimmage. Most of what we saw from the first and second team offense was the two-minute drill. There is a lot of news that came out today, so we will dive in.
Since the start of fall camp, the story has been there is no separation between the quarterbacks. It was being echoed by the coaches and the media from what was available for us to see in the final 20 minutes. Well, there is finally beginning to be separation between Troy Williams and Brandon Cox and Tyler Huntley. Head coach Kyle Whittingham said that Williams has been consistently playing a bit better than the other two. Whittingham is not ready yet to name Williams the starter, but he is now the leader and will take more first team reps than the other quarterbacks. Whittingham said the battle for the backup quarterback spot is still neck and neck between Cox and Huntley. Williams had by far the best throw of the scrimmage when he found Tyrone Smith for a 68 yard gain on fourth and 18 in the two-minute drill. It was a busted coverage with Smith getting behind the safeties, but Williams threw the ball perfectly. Cox was little more accurate than Huntley in the media session.
Joe Williams is still atop the depth chart. Williams thought the offense did well overall in the scrimmage. Because the first and second team offense was mainly focusing on the two-minute drill, there were not many running plays today. Zack Moss showed off some great pass blocking today. According to Whittingham, Moss is pushing McCormick for the second team running back spot. He is a big, powerful back.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
As mentioned above, Smith had the play of the day as a receiver. There were still a few drops from the receivers today, but they are working hard to minimize that this season. Whittingham thought that overall the offense and passing game did well in the scrimmage.
The bad news that came out today is that tight end Siale Fakailoatonga is out for the season with an ACL injury. Whittingham said he does have a redshirt available. Harrison Handley and Evan Moeai are co-starters at tight end, and Ken Hampel and Chad Hekking are co-backups per Whittingham.
The offensive line has to face one of the best defensive lines in the nation, and the first team offensive line especially held their own. Joe Williams is happy about their blocking in the running game and thinks J.J. Dielman has made a nice transition to center from right tackle. Whittingham also said Dielman’s play is improving, and he is getting more comfortable. The starting offensive line will likely be: LT Garett Bolles, LG Isaac Asiata, C J.J. Dielman, RG Salesi "Leka" Uhatafe, RT Sam Tavi.
The defensive line was able to produce pressure today. The three freshmen, Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu, and Maxs Tupai, all looked great today. This defensive line as Whittingham said earlier in fall camp seems like it could be Utah’s deepest ever.
Sunia Tauteoli stood out today at linebacker. He nearly had an interception, and Whittingham said he is the best linebacker right now. When using two linebackers, Whittingham said it would be Tauteoli and Cody Barton right now. He said Kavika Luafatasaga hit a bit of a wall with the playbook and is thinking too much. It will just take him time to get the plays down; he does have a ton of talent and potential.
The secondary continued to look good outside of allowing the big pass play. They are physical and play well in coverage, contesting many of the passes thrown their way. Justin Blackmon had an offsides penalty during the scrimmage but did have a nice pass breakup. The starters really are a strong unit.