Utes football scrimmage round-up: Some (maybe) movers and shakers
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was reluctant to say who might have separated themselves from their teammates at Friday’s scrimmage. (Story here.)
He wants to look at the tape. He wants to get it right.
But that’s no fun, is it?
With the Jeremiah Poutasi-sized caveat that this is the opinion of one unathletic sports reporter at The Tribune, here are a few guys who may have moved up the board with their play Friday and in recent practices.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Conner Manning
Last year, coaches weighed pulling Manning’s redshirt and said, at least initially, that they felt junior Adam Schulz gave them the best chance to win. Is that still the case? If you judged from Friday’s performances alone, no. Manning not only connected on a higher percentage of his passes — 9-of-16 compared to 1-of-7 — but among his incompletions were near-misses that might have been touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Marcus Sanders-Williams (see notes below) and junior Bubba Poole
It might seem odd to say that Poole’s stock could rise when he’s the No. 1 guy, but some of the shine has come off emerging threats Devontae Booker (junior) and Troy McCormick (redshirt freshman). They haven’t fared poorly, either, but the consistent Poole outdid them Friday with 10 carries for 45 yards and three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown.
Offensive lineman ???
This is quite the puzzle. It’s a safe bet that senior Junior Salt, a nonparticpant this spring, will start at guard in the fall. It’s a safe bet that Jeremiah Poutasi will start SOMEWHERE in the fall (he was at left tackle Friday after playing left guard and right tackle earlier this spring). It seems a less-safe-but-still-fairly-good bet that sophomore Isaac Asiata will be at right tackle or guard and that junior Siaosi Aiono will start at center. So that leaves about 10 guys vying for the fifth position — but very little insight into what that position may be. Your guess is as good as mine.
Senior wide receiver Andre Lewis (see notes below) and sophomore wide receiver Dominique Hatfield
He only had two catches for 23 yards, but the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Hatfield caught a Conner Manning pass and drove his legs forward with defenders in tow like a Radio Flyer. Hatfield has sticky hands and elite speed and has regularly shone among the brightest even with stiff competition from sophomores Brian Allen and Delshawn McClellon.
Sophomore left end Pita Taumoepenu