Brent Casteel caught passes of 40 and 53 yards.
Aug. 12, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY -
Saturday's scrimmage at the McCarthey Practice Fields proved what Ute coach Kyle Whittingham has said all along: Choosing a starting quarterback is not going to be easy. Brian Johnson, Tommy Grady and Brett Ratliff combined to complete 18-of-28 pass attempts for 294 yards and four touchdowns (no interceptions), and each demonstrated poise and big-play capabilities.
While it took Grady (7-11, 111 yards and 2 TDs) and Ratliff (5-9, 72 yards and 1 TD) a few series to settle in, Johnson (6-8, 111 yards and 1 TD) came out blazing. Playing with the No. 1 offense against the No. 2 defense, the junior completed a 40-yard pass to Brent Casteel on his very first snap. On play two, Darryl Poston made a nifty cut for a 12-yard run that took the offense to the 18-yard line. On his third snap, Johnson fired an 18-yard touchdown pass to Bradon Godfrey.
Each of the four Ute quarterbacks began with two opportunities to drive the offense from its own 30-yard line. Playing against the No. 1 defense, neither Grady nor Ratliff could get the ball in the end zone. Johnson had better luck against the second-string defense. In addition to his TD pass to Godfrey, he set up a 30-yard field goal by Louie Sakoda. The biggest play in that series was a 27-yard pass to Marquis Wilson. In his two tries with the No. 3 offense vs. the No. 3 defense, redshirt freshman Kevin Dunn scored on a 2-yard keeper. He wasn't as successful through the air, going 0-4 with an interception for the day.
Receivers Casteel and Wilson helped all three of the starting candidates by making big plays. In addition to Casteel's 40-yard reception from Johnson right out of the shoot, he hauled in a beautifully thrown 53-yard touchdown strike from Grady against the No. 1 defense during the third-down drills. Casteel finished with three catches for 99 yards, while Wilson contributed five receptions for 78 yards. Godfrey's three catches went for 45 yards.
In his turn with the first-string offense, Ratliff scored on a naked bootleg during the goal line drills. Ratliff also threw a 15-yard touchdown ball to Derrek Richards in the red zone segment, while Grady hit Fano Tagovailoa for a 9-yard touchdown.
Poston led Utah's running backs with eight carries for 23 yards (long of 12), followed by Mike Liti chipped in six rushes for 22 yards and a TD (during the goal line work). The leading rusher, however, was Johnson, who showed no sign of off-season knee surgery on a six-carry 43-yard day.
The defense also made some big plays, coming up with three sacks (Stevenson Sylvester, Derek Beardall and Chet Blasucci), five tackles for loss, three pass breakups and an interception (Thomas Bradley).
Sakoda made 2-of-3 field goals (long of 37), while freshman walk-on Coleman Petersen made his only attempt from 28 yards out.