Safety Eric Weddle dominated in the first scrimmage.
Aug. 11, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY -
The first scrimmage of Utah's preseason camp went precisely how new head coach Kyle Whittingham expected: the defense held the upper hand and the leaders on the offense were young.
"The defense really flew around out there and was ahead of the offense, just as I expected," said Whititngham. "The whole No. 1 defense, and Eric Weddle in particular, was outstanding. Brent Casteel showed he is a real playmaker for the offense and Brian Johnson played well, but not great."
The Ute offense scored just once during the 100-play scrimmage when sophomore quarterback Johnson tossed a short pass to redshirt freshman Casteel. Casteel then broke a tackle and made some nifty moves in a 24-yard touchdown play against the No. 2 defense.
"In my past years here, the offensive coordinator has always requested that the defense hold back in the first scrimmage," said Whittingham. But Andy (offensive coordinator Ludwig) said he wanted the defense to go with no holds barred--blitzes, stunts, what have you. I think it's good because the days of straight defenses are over. We might as well start to prepare right away for what we'll see in the season."
Johnson finished the day with respectable numbers: 6 of 8 passing for 63 yards and the scoring pass to Casteel. His only error came in red zone drills, when he threw a ball into the end zone that was intercepted by Weddle. Johnson also scampered 11 yards to gain a first down in the third down drills. New quarterbacks Danny Southwick (5-10 for 50 yards) and Kevin Dunn (2-4 for 18 yards) had some passing success, although they were stifled when it counted by the No. 1 defense. Junior college Brett Ratliff's 1 for 7 passing day wasn't as bad as it looked, as his receivers dropped at least three balls.
Senior Quinton Ganther led all rushers with 26 yards on six carries while junior Fano Tagovailoa, a receiver, had the longest run of the day--a 15-yarder from the line of scrimmage. Another new receiver, Brian Hernandez caught three passes for 29 yards.
Linebacker Loma Olevao, who is battling for a starting position, helped his cause with two sacks (10 yards) and a tackle for loss (7 yards). In addition to Weddle's pick in the red zone drills, the Ute defense batted down five passes during regular scrimmage play.