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Utah football: Utes seek to use spring game as positive ending

Published April 19, 2013 8:18 pm

College football • Scrimmage will show if Utes made as much improvement as hoped.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It may be a scrimmage.

It may be internal. The results — at least on the scoreboard — may be forgotten by dinnertime Sunday night.

But Saturday is a critical one for Utah football. Another rendition of the spring game returns to Rice-Eccles Stadium, a day of fun set up by the university complete with tailgating and a flag football matchup featuring the MUSS. The game will have more exposure than normal, as it will be shown live on the Pac-12 Network.

This, however, is a table setter. In what looks to be a critical upcoming season for the Utes, the program wants a good showing to springboard itself to summer workouts, and eventually to fall camp in a little more than three months.

"It's huge," linebacker V.J. Fehoko said. "We feel like we have to play well on both sides of the ball. This is the culmination of spring practice, and it's our last showing of the spring. We really want to leave things on a positive note."

What does that mean? For starters, it means execution on both sides of the ball, particularly on offense. It means searching for answers on a few pressing questions. Does sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson have a strong outing that puts some distance between him and Adam Schulz? Or does Schulz — who has been good this spring — continue to pressure Wilson for the starting job?

Does the wide receiving group of Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott continue to impress? And is a linebacking group that has added Brian Blechen show improvement over last season, when it was among the most maligned units in the program?

Many of the answers have been attained slowly in the 14 practices this spring. But Saturday offers a chance to be definitive, and a chance to do it before a curious fan base.

"It's going to be all about execution for us," Scott said. "We're looking forward to the game and the chance to show everyone the progress we have been making in practice. There will be trash-talking on both sides, especially if we score. We're going to let the defense know. So it's going to be fun as well. We're all looking forward to it."

The Red-White scrimmage is expected to last about 100 plays. The defense will be missing a few key players like Nate Orchard and Trevor Reilly, both of whom are recovering from injury.

tjones@sltrib.com

Red-White scrimmage

O At Rice-Eccles Stadium

Kickoff • Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV • Pac-12 Network