It was a struggle for the Utah offense much of the day in Saturday’s open spring practice. Not only were they going up against a reloading defense, but they were also dealing with some nasty weather.
All-in-all, the Utah defense won the day, as Utah’s defensive line and starting linebackers were causing havoc for the offense. Bradlee Anae was a monster on the defensive line, and was just tearing apart the o-line. Kavika Luafatasaga and Sunia Tauteoli also had good days at linebacker. Those two appear like they will be much more comfortable going into the season, especially Kavika. The No. 1 defense was stout, and just flat out terrorized the offense, especially Tyler Huntley, who really struggled in the rain.
The secondary also showed some nice flashes, including Jordan Fogal, who had a really nice pick in 1 on 1 drills at the goal line on a deep ball. Julian Blackmon had some nice pass breakups and a pick, and appears to be taking some steps forward. That group has a ways to go, but some nice things today.
Yes, the defense dominated 11-on-11 work, and there were plenty of dropped balls (especially a beauty from Williams to Dana), and bobbled snaps, but it wasn’t all awful for the offense (just mostly). There were some good things to take away, and here are some things I saw today:
- The route trees are much more down field, I didn’t see one 7 to 10 yard comeback route on the sideline.
- They were practicing the triple option pass to the sideline quite a bit, similar to what Arizona has ran under Rich Rod. I’d like to see this implemented, but decision making is key to this play.
- There were wide receiver screens, but unlike under A-Rod, they were faster developing and happened a couple yards further up field.
- The different route trees led to some busted coverage which allowed Samson Nacua to pick up a nice gain from Troy Williams, as did Siaosi Wilson. Granted, these gains were against the twos and threes.
- Troy had a nice day with the read option. He was able to pick up some nice gains when he kept the ball. Hopefully we see him run a bit more in 2017.
- Siaosi Wilson had a very nice day, overall. He was able to adjust his body and come back on multiple 15 or so yard patterns, and wasn’t bothered too much by the rain. He made Huntley look good on one deep ball, which was Huntley’s best play of the day. Wilson is going to be very good for Utah.
- The offense is faster, and there was no huddling at all. It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves and improves as spring and fall camp happen.
- Devontae Henry-Cole had some nice runs, not many, but he did show some shiftiness and speed.
Hopefully the Utes won’t have to deal with this weather much more this spring.