Football: Utes Have Solid Showing in Final Scrimmage

By Gianna Cefalu

With just two practices before the annual Red and White game, the University of Utah football team held its final scrimmage of the spring camp season at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Despite the heavy rain, head coach Kyle Whittingham was pleased with the team’s overall performance and its efforts on both sides of the field.

“The scrimmage today was outstanding,” Whittingham said. “Much cleaner than last week, and we were a lot more productive on offense. We had very few penalties and just mechanically getting in and out, as well as getting the calls, getting lined up and execution was very good. The kickers and punters did a great job as well as the respective units.”

On special teams, kicker Matt Gay punched in a 50-plus yard field goal while Mitch Wishnowsky got some good reps in.

Whittingham believes the team has potential to be great this fall, depending on how hard the players are willing to work in the summer and develop the leadership skills necessary to be successful on and off the field.

The quarterbacks continued to show dominance and leadership on the field. Tyler Huntley and Jack Tuttle each threw over 70 yards on Saturday and a combined total of three touchdown passes. Jason Shelley also got a few reps in and connected on two scores with Jaylen Dixon — Dixon finished the day with four touchdowns. Running backs Zack Moss and Armand Syne continue to make progress in their position, each scoring one touchdown. Samson Nacua had a standout performance, with a number of 20-plus yard receptions.

On the defensive side, safety Josh Nurse came away with one interception, making it his second consecutive scrimmage interception. The rainy conditions made it easier for Maxs Tupai to come away with a fumble recovery.

Terrell Burgess and Paul Maile made big impressions on the coaches and were the leaders of the day. Whittingham was impressed with defensive end Bradlee Anae’s performance, despite receiving limited reps at the scrimmage. Overall, Whittingham is pleased with how attentive the defensive players are when listening to the coaches.

Huntley credits the solid offensive performance to the receivers and running backs making effective plays and showing the defense how strong they are.

“We came out great, executing the offense and tearing the defense up,” Huntley said. “We made a lot of plays in the lane, and despite the conditions, we came out and played football. In the fourth week of spring ball, my comfort level and confidence in the system and play calls is very high. Day after day, we work on our craft.”

The Utes will play in the annual Red and White Game on Saturday April 14 at 11 a.m. to close out spring football.

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