Ute football: D gets some big hits on backup QBs
Any questions as to the order of the depth chart for Utah's quarterbacks were answered early in Saturday's scrimmage at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Starter Brian Johnson and sophomore Corbin Louks were off limits to the defense to protect them from injuries. As for Chad Manis and newcomer DeVonte Christopher? They were served up to Utah's eager defense with no such protective luxuries and were pounded to the turf again and again.
Lei Talamaivao, Derrick Shelby and a whole lot of others took advantage of a rare day in which they were allowed to hit their quarterbacks, and harassed Manis and Christopher as much as possible.
"Oh yeah, it was good to get to the quarterbacks and get some hits," Shelby said. "It was fun to get some of that aggression out now."
Manis didn't seem to mind the hard love from his defensive teammates. As the third guy on the depth chart, he has to impress the coaches any way he can, and if that includes taking some hits, so be it.
"We didn't find out until this morning we were going live, and I was kind of excited about it," he said. "You've got to take the bullets as they fly, but I had fun with it."
Manis was 2-for-6 for 23 yards and a touchdown while Christopher got the least touches, going 0-for-2.
Louks had the best day for the quarterbacks, going 11-for-16 for 66 yards and rushing eight times for 39 yards.
Walk-on Collin Robinson led the receivers with five catches for 34 yards. Freddie Brown had four for 34 yards and Jereme Brooks had two for 24 yards. As has been the case all spring, Brooks was the recipient of a couple big hits from the defense, and mixed it up with corner Brice McCain in a scuffle that finally was broken up by defensive coordinator Gary Andersen.
"There is a lot of competition, and guys are trying to outdo each other, so it's real competitive," Brooks said. "That is how it is, it's just football."
One area the Utes aren't worried about is the kicking game, with Ben Vroman and Louie Sakoda returning. Sakoda was 6-for-6 on field goals, including two from 47 yards and a 46-yarder. Vroman was 4-for-6 with a 47-yarder. Both of his misses were from 61 yards. . . . Defensive back Damilyn Tanner injured his left elbow and didn't return. . . . About 70 recruits attended the scrimmage. . . . The next scrimmage will be Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. It was originally scheduled for Saturday.