It was a gorgeous day up at Rice-Eccles Stadium for a little bit of spring football, as the Utes held another spring scrimmage, to help get a better feel for the progress of the team to this point.
First up, a couple injury notes to come out of today's practice. Utah QB Troy Williams will miss the remainder of spring with an undisclosed injury. He was in pads today, but he was in the pit the rest of the day, so that's a little encouraging. Also missing the rest of spring ball is Corey Butler-Byrd, which is unfortunate as he transitions to wide receiver.
Here's a bit of a breakdown of what happened today:
Early on in the scrimmage, where most of the plays were situational, the defense was dominate. They were in the backfield on almost every play, and they were swarming to whomever was playing quarterback. There's not a big surprise with this defense, as it's proving to be as formidable as ever. One name that jumped out a little was Chris Hart, a hybrid defensive end / linebacker. He's gotten some praise this spring, but he continues to make plays, and will more than likely see the field this fall.
The defensive play of the day was without a doubt made by Marcus Williams. Tyler Huntley delivered a really nice deep pass to Kenric Young that would have been a big gain, but Marcus Williams roaming the back end destroyed Young before he could come down with the ball. Williams is playing with a swag and confidence that I haven't seen from him before. He's going to be a terror this upcoming season.
The offense was getting tossed around by the defense, as previously mentioned, but they started to balance things out more as the scrimmage went along. With Williams out, the reps were split between Huntley and Brandon Cox. Huntley was the first QB that started to finally get things going, as he had a really nice series with the 1s. Huntley was a nice one-two punch with Troy McCormick for stretches today. The young QB led the team down the field for a scoring opportunity, and had a very nice elusive play that would have resulted in a nice touchdown pass, but his wideout dropped the ball.
Speaking of McCormick, he looks really good thus far. He's very elusive, and looks like his speed is back. Multiple times throughout the day he would elude tackles and pick up tough yards. Joe Williams also had a nice day, when given some holes to run through. He busted off one really big run off of a pancake block by Isaac Asiata. Huntley also led a nice scoring drive at the end for a touchdown, in a situation that resembled an end of game, less than one minute left to score, scenario.
On the day, however, Brandon Cox was the better of the two quarterbacks from beginning to end. Things really opened up for Cox after he hit Caleb Repp down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown pass. Cox was efficient all day long, finding not only Repp, but many other players that would line up in the slot. Cox was also very efficient running the hurry up in the two minute drill. He led the team down the field both times for scoring opportunities, with one of them ending in a touchdown, the other in a missed field goal. This is the most confident I've seen Cox in a long time. He truly looked like a competitor for the starting roll.
Speaking of Caleb Repp, I love his move to wide receiver. His length and speed are big assets to have on the outside. He caught multiple deep passes down the field from both Cox and Huntley. One was the 50 yard touchdown, another was a deep shot at the end of practice from Huntley that set up a touchdown with only a couple seconds of remaining.
Huntley was pretty good overall on the day, but you could tell he's still adjusting to the speed of the game, especially the pass rush. He struggled with inaccuracy at times as well. I love the skill set he has, as he sits in the pocket very well and delivers as nice of a deep ball as I've seen in a long time. He's still a bit skinny, and that will be a big emphasis for him going forward, but I think Utah has a real gem with this kid. I was hoping to see him use his legs a little more, but his feeling and understanding of the game at this point in spring, after only being on campus a couple months, is really impressive.
Passing Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD
B. Cox 18-25-0 223 3
T. Huntley 7-19-0 66 1
Rushing No Net TD Long
J. Williams 11 33 1 17
T. McCormick 10 27 0 14
M. Manalo 8 -3 0 12
T. Huntley 5 -29 0 -3
B. Cox 3 -11 0 0
T. Cooperwood 2 1 0 5
K. Fulks 1 3 0 3
T. Leha'uli 1 -2 0 -2
Receiving No. Yds TD Long
C. Repp 5 109 1 50
T. Smith 5 57 0 26
W. Gonzalez 4 29 3 16
H. Handley 3 23 0 10
T. McCormick 2 13 0 13
T. Cooperwood 2 8 0 7
D. Simpkins 1 17 0 17
K. Young 1 14 0 14
M. Manalo 1 12 0 12
Sacks: S. Tauteoli 1, C. Hart .5, P. Tasini 2, P Taumoepenu 2, A. Havili-Katoa .5
Tackles for Loss: F. Mokofisi 1.5, H. Dimick, 1, S. Tu'ikolovatu .5, K Fitts 1, S. Tauteoli 2, C. Hart .5, P. Tasini 2, P Taumoepenu 3.5, Charles 1, A. Havili-Katoa 1.5, A. Lee 1, N Mika .5
Pass Break Ups: M. Williams 1, A. Godfrey 1, D. Greene 1