The news out of fall camp today is that cornerback Reggie Porter has blown out his knee and is out for the season, as per head coach Kyle Whittingham. Because of this, safety Brian Allen spent some time at cornerback today(he played receiver prior to fall camp), and Dominique Hatfield will be playing both offense and defense (he was an all-league cornerback in high school and played corner some at Utah before switching to wide receiver due to lack of depth his freshman year). Hatfield, in his first action back at defensive back, had a pass interference call against him when covering wide receiver Dres Anderson during practice today. Allen showed some nice defensive instincts and made a nice tackle after a catch by wide receiver Tim Patrick. Both Hatfield and Allen will need to adjust quickly for Utah to have any kind of depth at cornerback.
We got to see reps from Travis Wilson, Kendal Thompson, and Brandon Cox today. Cox is definitely not ready to play quarterback yet. He had multiple balls that were not even close to being complete, and he looks to run far too quickly. He did have a very nice scramble though, and there is no doubt he is a terrific athlete. Wilson connected with wide receiver Kenneth Scott multiple times, including on a few deep passes, which were complete because of great plays by Scott. Wilson also had a nice run on a read-option play. Thompson played the most during the time we saw at practice. He was very hit or miss, but he is incredible running the read-option. His moves in the open field are impressive, he is very elusive and quick. He is also able to extend plays when protection breaks down. He did, however, miss on several throws, threw into coverage, and had a pass batted at the line. Thompson looked best throwing screen passes. Most of his misses were close, but if he wants to start, he needs to be more accurate. Overall, I was not impressed for the most part with the throwing by the quarterbacks, though I would say Wilson looked the best, but Thompson's running was very impressive.
Bubba Poole and Troy McCormick both had a few nice runs, and both backs can cut well to hit holes. McCormick is a great threat in read-option plays with Thompson because both guys have great speed. Devontae Booker was quieter running the football and was mostly bottled up, but he had a very nice reception on a screen pass from Thompson.
Kenneth Scott had the best day. He just catches everything near him, so he will act as a great safety blanket for the quarterback. Scott can act as a deep threat as well due to his ability to go up and get jump balls. He showed decent speed and run after the catch on a pass from Wilson. Dres Anderson was close to breaking a screen pass from Thompson, but he also had a drop which was called pass interference by Hatfield in coverage. Patrick had a catch and barely missed a 30+ yard touchdown catch due to a slightly overthrown pass from Thompson. Andre Lewis made an appearance too and caught a pass from Thompson. The tight ends were relatively quiet today, and it appears that Wallace Gonzalez has switched from tight end to defensive end.
I was focusing more on the offense, but besides what was noted above about the secondary, defensive end Pita Taumoepenu had nice pressure on Thompson (play was a screen to Anderson), and forced him to get the ball out quickly. Whittingham noted great play from defensive end Nate Orchard today. Brian Blechen and Tevin Carter were both playing safety today. Freshman safety Monte Seabrook had a nice break up on a slightly underthrown Thompson pass. The defense was getting nice pressure and had several sacks and forced quarterbacks to have to move in the pocket.
The team did soccer penalty kicks after practice. Linebacker Jared Norris and kicker Andy Phillips were the best and scored on most of their shots. Patrick, Anderson, and tight end Westlee Tonga among others played goalie.
Play of the day: Scott's catch on a deep pass from Wilson
Player of the day: Scott, he caught pretty much everything thrown to him, and he was targeted a lot.
Quote of the day: again Scott, I caught an errant soccer shot after practice and Scott said, "That was a nice catch Tim Howard."