August 13, 2009

QBs battle it out in scrimmage

Utah held their first scrimmage of fall camp Thursday morning. While much of the 100 play session was closed to the media, there were plenty of highlights to go around. Though early, the picture has cleared up on some of the more closely watched position battles while others remain a toss-up.

The surprise of the day goes to quarterback Griff Robles. Robles threw a pass into heavy coverage during two-minute work. The ball was tipped around and eventually landed in the hands of linebacker Thor Salanoa, who looked like he was going to take it back for a touchdown. As Salanoa was racing down the far sideline, Robles came out of nowhere and just destroyed Salanoa. The sound of the collision echoed for a moment, and cheers erupted from the entire team. The coaches noticed. "Best hit of the day, by a QB," head coach Kyle Whittingham said. Of course, everyone wants to know if he is going to follow past quarterbacks such as [db]Chad Manis and Paul Kruger and move to defense. "I asked him if he had any defensive background, he said yes, so file that away, you may see that in the future," Whittingham said. "Knocked [Salanoa] right out." Defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake offered his opinion. "Shoot. It looked like he had the hardest hit of the day," Sitake said. "I think he's got a better arm than most of my guys. I think it's in his future if he wants it (laughs)."

Other notes from the scrimmage:

Lei Talamaivao had a solid day. He blew up several running plays well behind the line of scrimmage.

Elijah Wesson had another solid day. While he's not a star, Wesson is becoming a threat in the passing game. Wesson had a good catch and run early on, and then picked up a first down on a fourth-and-long play.

• Jereme Brooks[db] and [db]Shaky Smithson returned kickoffs for touchdowns. It was not a good day for the coverage teams.

Ben Vroman might have locked down the placekicking duties, going 7-for-7 on the day. Nick Marsh is getting more consistent as both a kicker and punter but has a lot of work to do.

Eddie Wide showed a bit of his power side, running through several tackles on an inside run to score from 10 yards out. "I feel a lot better than last year," Wide said. "A lot more confident. I'm an outside running back, but I can run inside too. It felt great [to score the touchdown]. It had been a while."

• Two of the three quarterbacks threw interceptions during the time the media was allowed to watch. Terrance Cain was picked off by Tysen Clemens in the endzone while Conroy Black intercepted an overthrown ball from Jordan Wynn.

Robles followed up his interception by driving down the field and hitting Kevin Chandler for a touchdown.

• The offensive line might be close to finding their fifth starter. "Walter Watts seems to be in the lead right now, but we've got to watch this tape," Whittingham said. "I don't want to make definitive statements before we have the chance to analyze the tape but it's looking like Walter is starting to take hold of that spot. But by no means is that settled.

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