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The Utah football team concluded preseason camp with a crisp 50-play scrimmage, Saturday in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The offense took advantage of the absence of six first-string defensive players - who watched from the sidelines for precautionary reasons. The biggest plays came on a 48-yard touchdown bomb from Brian Johnson to Marquis Wilson and a 37-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Grady to Derrek Richards.
On the day, Johnson completed 5-of-10 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, while Grady connected on 8-of-13 pass attempts for 77 yards and a score. The duo spread the ball around to eight different receivers, led by Brian Hernandez, who caught three passes for 42 yards. Catching two passes each were tight ends Matt Sims (11 yards) and Colt Sampson (9 yards), and wideout Derrek Richards (43 yards).
Hernandez also had the most impressive run of the day, sprinting for 19 yards on a reverse. Darryl Poston rushed seven times for 19 yards and Darrell Mack had two carries for 17 yards. Highly touted junior college running back Matt Asiata remained on the inactive list with a foot injury. He has begun light running and will continue his gradual return to action on Monday.
While head coach Kyle Whittingham liked the way the offense moved the ball against the second and third-string defensive units, he expressed displeasure over dropped passes and penalties. "We have some things to clean up on offense, in particular the drops and drive killing penalties."
While the offensive stars were getting plenty of work, starting defenders Steve Tate, Brice McCain, Joe Jiannoni, Martail Burnett, Joe Dale and Kyle Brady took the day off. Of the six, only Brady was out with an injury (knee) and he is expected to return to practice Monday.
"We held those guys out by design," said Whittingham. "We know what they can do and putting them in harm's way would accomplish nothing."
Second string defensive back Terrell Cole took advantage of his extra time on the field by making an impressive pass breakup. Elijah Wesson also broke up a pass. Recording a 9-yard sack were Michael Steckly and DeShawn Richards.
Utah's field goal team again stood out with Louie Sakoda making field goals from 45 and 46 yards out on his two attempts and Ben Vroman splitting the uprights on a 52-yarder after first missing from that distance.