Utah got down and dirty on day three of spring camp. For the first time in 2006, the Utes were all pads today, and although there was no tackling, there was plenty of aggressive play. To enhance the mood, Mother Nature added another ingredient to the mix as rain dumped on Rice-Eccles Stadium throughout the practice session, with a downpour coming at the end.
Power on Power
Today was the first day of full pads and it couldn't have been a better day for it. The hits and cracking of helmets and pads in the air were music to every player's ears, and it was apparent that the Utes wanted to hit someone. The offensive line will be a key factor in Utah's success, and thus far they are looking nice as they push and hit each other off the line. Center Kyle Gunther is improving at coming off the snap of the ball and hitting hard.
One on one hitting drills were perhaps the highlight of the day, as the offense and defense squared off and tried to show their physical supremacy. Among the more impressive encounters were Sean Smith battling Mombroso Washington and Kelly Talavou squaring off against Robert Conley. As the pounding of pads and helmets smacked together, teammates and coaches pushed each side with shouting of support for each other.
Running back drills were in full effect as the Utes focused on several running packages today. This time around it was tailback Mike Liti that was slashing and reading holes, making cut backs when defenders were in his face and pushing it for that extra yard. Darryl Poston also showed his signature elusiveness, making some unbelievable moves in traffic. At this point, it is hard to see who is winning the running back battle as nobody has been able to separate himself from the pack.
Seven-on-Seven: Let the Hits Begin
The first team defense came on strong putting the hit on first team offense in seven-on-seven drills. Senior safety Casey Evans made a couple of big plays, as he flew to the ball and put the lick on the wide outs and running backs. Chet Blasucci is starting to make a name for himself as he busted through the line like a mad man on multiple occasions. The first team offense came out a little slow in drills, but then turned it on toward the end of drills. During the drill, Mike Liti made the best play on offense with a 20 yard gain.
Star of the Day
Sophomore receiver Brent Casteel's strong performance today showed once again that he could be on the verge of a breakout year. His highlight of the day came as he welcomed walkon safety Danny Copinga to collegiate football with a nasty hit after catching a Tommy Grady bullet. Apparently he didn't get the memo that it was a non-tackling practice.
Darrell Mack was working in the pit today as he recovered from a minor hamstring injury. In today's action, senior cornerback Sean Harper was bothered with a minor nagging injury that held him out of a portion of practice. In addition, redshirt freshman Kenape Eliapo went down with an undisclosed injury during the two minute drill.
Managing Editor Dan Sorensen contributed to portions of this story.