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March 27, 2006Rice-Eccles stadium was once again popping on Monday afternoon as the Utes continued spring practice. The Utes showed signs of improvement on the second day of spring practice, although it was apparent that they are still shaking off the rust.
QB Battle Continues
The coaches didn't waste any time getting the team doing drills to get them focused and ready for the day's practice. As practice moved on to seven-on-seven drills, Brett Ratliff showed why he was the early favorite to win the starting job. Ratliff looked good, threw strong, and his passes were under control. Tommy Grady followed suit, showing his tremendous arm as he continuously hit receivers in stride. Kevin Dunn also had a good seven-on-seven and showed his ability to hit targets while rolling out of the pocket. Brian Johnson took some snaps in the passing drills and he looked right on track as he recovers from his injury.
The Utes offense has a lot of speed on their side, with several skill players stepping up early. Receiver Derrek Richards showed off his blazing speed and ability to get yards after the catch. Senior tailback Darryl Poston had an impressive day. Poston saw the holes, made great cuts with his lighting speed, and eluded defenders well. He also appears to have worked on some of his ball control issues from last season. Brian Hernandez once again showed his iron man style as he ran some catching drills where he didn't drop any balls, despite recovering from off-season ankle surgery.
The defensive backs are looking strong, led once again by reigning conference player of the year Eric Weddle. Weddle doesn't look like he has lost a step from last season, despite looking like he put a few pounds of lean mass in the of-season. Recent addition Mombroso Washington also made a strong impression today. Washington has good feet and keeps the receiver in front of him along with good hands to get in and take the ball away from the wide outs.
Two Minute Drill
Towards of the end of practice the Utes broke into the two minute drill. The first team looked adequate with Ratliff going three-for-five for 52 yards, including two completions to Derek Richards. Ratliff nearly had a pass picked off on a terrific defensive play by safety Joe Giuliani, but Giuliani couldn't control the ball coming down with it.
The second team came out and looked dialed in with Tommy Grady going four for five during the 2 minute drill. Grady started with a bullet to Thomas Huff for an 11 yrd completion. He then completed a 17 yard pass to Bradon Godfrey for 17 yds, a 27 yard pass to Nate Clark and finished the drive with a 23 yard strike to Sean Smith. Grady also showed his mobility, running for 8 yds in the drill.
The third team came out rusty as Kevin Dunn had an off two minute drill, only completing one of four attempts. Dunn's sole completion was to walkon R.J Rice for 20 yards. Dunn was also picked off by JJ Williams while rolling to the side lines. The third team did more running the ball then passing but over all looks a bit rusty and will look to improve as spring football progresses.
Star of the Day
Junior quarterback Tommy Grady showed why the hype is warranted, making several huge completions during seven-on-seven and two minute drills.