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April 9, 2006

Ground game shines in scrimmage

Utah hit the ground running, literally, in its first scrimmage of spring football on Saturday. The running game accounted for all six of Utah's touchdowns, including four by senior tailback Darryl Poston. As Utah wraps up week two of spring football, several key position battles are beginning to take shape

Sloppy Play

The Utah offense, particularly the passing game, was unusually sloppy in today's scrimmage. Quarterbacks Brett Ratliff and Tommy Grady struggled all day as both completing less than 37% of their passes. The Utah receivers had an equally forgettable day as they dropped several catchable passes throughout the day. The offense was also plagued by three fumbles, two coming courtesy of walkon tailback Jarrell Woods, and the other coming from a botched option pitch by Brent Casteel.

Road Graders

Despite the deficiencies in the passing game, the offensive line was once again able to shine. The line, particularly the first stringers, played strongly and cohesively as they cleared space for the rushing attack. With 60% of Utah's available running backs in the pit recovering from various injuries, the Utes were woefully thin at running back for the scrimmage. However, despite the lack of depth, Darryl Poston made the most of his extended duty with a spectacular performance, running for 79 yards and four touchdowns on the day. Walkon Jarrell Woods struggled with ball control issues, losing two fumbles on the day.

Emerging Players

Several backups capped off solid weeks of practice with good performances in the scrimmage. Defensive end Greg Newman had a solid week of practice after spending the first week of spring ball in the pit. Newman is looking to push for playing time at the base end position behind Soli Lefiti. Defensive end Andrew Smart is also showing signs of improvement. Smart had a strong scrimmage, as he was able to penetrate into the backfield and bat down a pass. Safety John Peel has shown a remarkable ability to transition to the safety position. Peel played well in multiple reps with the first team defense in today's scrimmage.

Stars of the Day

Offense - Daryl Poston was nothing short of spectacular in the first scrimmage. His four touchdowns only tell part of the story. Poston was all over the field, making defenders miss with his speed and elusiveness.

Defense - Junior defensive end Martail Burnett was once again impressive, recording two tackles for a loss, including a sack of Tommy Grady. Burnett, who has emerged as a potential defensive star this spring, was held out of the latter part of practice with a minor leg injury.

Injury Report

Several Utes were held out of practice with minor injuries including running backs Mike Liti (shoulder), George Molifua (neck), Darrell Mack (hamstring). All three backs should be back in action next week.

Unofficial Scrimmage Stats

Passing
Brett Ratliff 6-16-0-102
Tommy Grady 7-20-0-115

Rushing
Daryl Poston 14-79
Jarrell Woods 6-23

Receiving
Sean Smith 4-62
Daryl Poston 2-52
Marquis Wilson 2-23
Brent Casteel 1-30
Derrick Richards 1-37
Drew Hackett 1-35


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