The Utes ran their first real scrimmage of spring, and the results were predictable as the Utah offense outscored the Utah defense 49-0. The Ute offense regrouped from their struggles earlier in the week to put up some impressive numbers in practice.
Travis Wilson did manage plenty of end zone strikes but struggled with accuracy. Wilson completed 11 of 21 passes for 182 yards and five touchdowns. The main recipient of his touchdowns were Dres Anderson (3 catches, 114 yards, with a 58 yard strike, and two TDs), tight end Westlee Tonga (3 catches, 41 yards, two touchdowns) and Bubba Poole (three catches, 31 yards and a touchdown).
Adam Schulz (1-7, 10 yards) and Brandon Cox (2-8, 36 yards) struggled to get anything going, but Conner Manning (9-16, 66 yards) showed one signs that he could be ready to move up the depth chart.
The most interesting stats came from the run game. Poole managed a respectable 45 rushing yards on ten carries and also was productive in the receiving game, making him probably the most versatile back on the squad. Troy McCormick and Devontae Booker also both managed to put in 31 rushing yards each on six and seven carries respectively. Booker also managed to get some catches out of the backfield too and run for a touchdown. But the most impressive stat-line belonged to Marcus Sanders-Williams, who ran for 73 yards on eight carries, including a 39 yard scamper and a touchdown to boot.
Probably the most impressive Ute on the day was Andy Phillips. Phillips booted eight of nine field goal attempts, nailing all five of his kicks from beyond 38 yards and hitting a 53 and a 52 yard field goal
Thanks to Matthew Piper and Robert Jackson for helping compile all that data.
Here's video highlights from practice earlier in the week.
Kyle Whittingham has taken the Urban Meyer approach to special teams and is enjoying the role.
It’s not so foreign, really. Twenty-five years ago, Whittingham was special teams coordinator for three seasons at Idaho State. He’s also been involved with coaching a phase of special teams in past years as head coach — and now he simply oversees that ensemble effort.
Wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield coaches kickoff returns; cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah coaches punt returns, safeties coach Morgan Scalley coaches kickoff coverage, offensive line coach Jim Harding coaches PATs and field goals and running backs coach Dennis Erickson helps the kickers with their mind-set. Whittingham handles the punt team.
"At first I didn’t really know what to think about it, but we’re about three weeks into spring ball right now and it couldn’t be better," said junior All-Pac 12 punter Tom Hackett. "He’s a lot chiller than Coach Hill is."
Utah will also look to try and cut down on turnovers from last season, something that cost the Utes a few too many winnable games.
In the 2013 season, Utah committed 25 turnovers, a number that is seemingly always too high for coaches. While there was only one interception during Tuesday’s practice, the Utes fumbled the ball multiple times. At moments during the season, the offense showed promise, but the Utes could not find a way to be more consistent, and the solution is clear.
“We got to be effective and eliminate turnovers,” said wide receiver Dres Anderson. “Basically, turnovers killed us all of last year. If we eliminate turnovers, we will be great.”
Anderson has felt new drills will help him and his teammates’ effectiveness. Though the defense has been consistent in causing the turnovers, Anderson said it is only a matter of time during the spring until the Utes will get better.