If you're planning to attend the University of Utah's annual spring football game Saturday afternoon, you might want to think again. The Utes aren't holding one.
The Utes will end spring football practice with a regular practice scrimmage. Why? The NCAA has cut the number of spring practices that can be held, and the Utes still have unfinished business."We still have goals we need to accomplish in spring drills," said coach Ron McBride. "We need every practice day available to us to do that, so we don't have the luxury of having a game-type scrimmage to close out the spring like we have in past years."
The Utes' final practice and scrimmage will begin at 1 p.m. on the grass practice field northeast of the Huntsman Center (if the weather is bad, the practice will be moved to Rice Stadium).
The Question of the Hour for the Utes is who is the quarterback, Frank Dolce or Mike Richmond? Dolce, a 1989 junior college All-American, redshirted last season, and Richmond split the starting job with Jason Woods. So far, the Dolce-Richmond race is a tossup, say their coaches.
"Both Mike and Frank have played well this spring," said McBride. "They both have improved and both have the ability to make the big plays."
Just as he did last spring, McBride has made a number of position switches. Mark Swanson has been moved from cornerback to nickelback; Cedric Crawford from cornerback to strong safety; Erroll Martin and Daren Castain from linebacker to nickelback; Woods from quarterback to tight end; Anthony Hall from offensive line to defensive line.
"The key is to put each player in a position where he is able to play most effectively," says McBride.
McBride, who will begin his second year as Utah's coach next fall, says the Utes have improved this spring. "We haven't had nearly as many turnovers this spring as we had last spring," he says. "Our defense has been much more physical, but they haven't been able to get the turnovers they got last year."