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Red tops Black 21-0 in annual spring game

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Mike Gillilan

It was undoubtedly a pretty cathartic day for many people, including fans, players, coaches, and others around the Utah football program. The Utes held their annual spring game on Saturday, and the red squad topped the black team 21-0. In a controlled scrimmage, it can be hard to take too many lessons from a game like this, especially with many guys not playing, but there are some things to take away. Let’s break it down a bit.

Quarterbacks
The guy that Coach Whitt has been talking about all spring and who has played a ton of ball at a very high level is Charlie Brewer, and Brewer had a great day on Saturday. He went 15-of-15 for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He would have been sacked at least a couple of times, but the rules of the game didn’t allow a defender to come near him, even if the line broke down, which did at times. Even so, he sat in the pocket really well and delivered great passes all day long. He attacked at all three levels of the defense, and I loved his willingness to attack the second level, including a great deep ball to Devaughn Vele, who came down with a great 40-yard pass. If Brewer has time this fall, he will have a monster season.

Peter Costelli showed his skill, even with his struggles today. He had just 23 yards on 3-of-8 passing, but an early deep drop from Jaylen Dixon really hurt him. He struggled with some high snaps that really threw off timing for him, but he showed his ability to move and make throws while moving. He’s got a lot of development in front of him, but I liked what I saw from him overall.

Ja’Quinden Jackson struggled in the passing game, going just 3-of-8 for 28 yards, but his ability to move and run was impressive. I think he earned reps in some wildcat package. He also had a few drops that didn’t help him, but his ability to move the chains on the ground cannot be denied.

Runningbacks:
We didn’t see a lot of Micah Bernard, but he looked good in his short reps, and the two new guys TJ Pledger and Chris Curry, each had nice days. Both had six carries, but Pledger had 31 yards, and Curry had 44. As a group, this will be a nasty group, and if the offensive line can road grade some guys, it will be fun to watch.

Wideouts:
Vele led the group with 66 yards, and Dixon would have had 40+ yards, but his drop cost him. Solomon Enis had 44 yards and one touchdown as he and Britian Covey, who had 29 yards, also proved to be a couple of the favorite targets for Brewer. Coach Whitt had said they do plan to grab at least one receiver out of the portal to help build the depth here, but the front-line guys appear to be in good shape.

Offensive line:
We can’t take a ton out of the line since the squad was split up, and Nick Ford didn’t play. The hope is they can continue to improve and gel because as they go, the team will go.

Defense:
Not a lot to say about the defense because so many names didn’t play today, but we did see some plays at the defensive line as they did beat up the patchwork offensive line at times. Xavier Carlton had a really nice day with five tackles and a sack. There also were some potential interceptions by secondary guys called back due to penalties, but bodies were flying to the ball.

Overall a very nice day for the Utes; not always flashy, but you could see the pieces out there that hint at a very good team. Next up, the team will get ready for summer conditioning in about six weeks, and then the work toward the kick-off against Weber State on September 2nd will pick up.