True freshman running back Thretton Palamo had 16 carries for 73 yards in Utah's first spring scrimmage Friday night.
April 1, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY - Ute head coach Kyle Whittingham felt pretty good about things after watching his team's first scrimmage of the spring, which went for two hours Friday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
"I thought there were a lot of positives," said Whittingham, conducting his seventh spring camp at Utah. "We didn't put the ball on the ground, there were very few penalties, and I thought we tackled pretty well for the first scrimmage."
Whittingham was especially impressed by the defense, which accounted for eight sacks and five other tackles for loss. One of the bigger sacks was turned in by sophomore back-up right defensive end Joe Kruger and went for a 10-yard loss. Sophomore Brian Blechen, making the move from strong safety to stud linebacker, also had an eight-yard sack.
"I saw some good performances on defense. Joe Kruger, in particular, was exceptional today," Whittingham commented.
The Ute offense, converting from the spread to a multiple system under first-year coordinator Norm Chow, found the end zone five times on pass plays.
Sophomore Griff Robles went 8-for-15 for 102 yards and three scores while throwing the only interception. True freshman Tyler Shreve was 6-for-13 for 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Both are fighting for the No. 2 quarterback position behind junior starter Jordan Wynn, who is recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.
"The quarterbacks progressed a little bit tonight. There's still a long ways to go, but for the first extensive live work of the spring I thought it was pretty good," said Whittingham."
Junior wide receiver Reggie Dunn scored on both of his catches for 70 yards. Dres Anderson, a redshirt freshman, had a touchdown on his only reception of the scrimmage for 45 yards. He also scored a touchdown during the two-minute drills.
Walk-on sophomore running back Thretton Palamo (6-2, 237) also made his presence known. The former U.S. National Team rugby player from Sacramento, Calif., had 16 carries for 73 yards.
Thretton ran the ball hard," said Whittingham. "He got a lot of opportunities and made the most of them."
Two other first-year running backs also had double-digit carries as the Utes look to replace departed seniors Eddie Wide and Matt Assiata, the top two rushers from last year.
True freshman Harvey Langi of Bingham High School rushed 12 times for 34 yards. Junior college transfer John White IV had 10 carries for 29 yards.
"We had a good tempo with our offense," Whittingham continued. "Not a lot of illegal procedure calls or false starts, which is usually the case in a first scrimmage, so that was a positive. The physicality in the run game is where we need to improve. In this offense, physical line play is a big part of it. We're not there yet. We also need a better completion percentage. We're not throwing the ball accurately enough and there were too many drops."
Utah holds its second spring scrimmage on Saturday, April 9 at 10 a.m. The Red-White Spring Game takes place Saturday, April 16 at 1 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium.