The University of Utah completed its two-a-day practices with a Friday night scrimmage at Rice Stadium. The scrimmage featured the absence of one star and the return of another.
Quarterback Scott Mitchell was noticeably absent during the whole scrimmage. He was seen walking along the edge of the field with the shoe off his left foot. Afterward, Coach Jim Fassel said Mitchell "felt a little funny right in his ankle," while jumping rope in warmups. "We didn't want to take any chances so we didn't even play him," said Fassel.Fassel added that preliminary X-rays indicated there was nothing wrong with the ankle.
Meanwhile, star running back Eddie Johnson made a brief but visible appearance. Johnson, who did not appear in last weekend's scrimmage and has been recovering from knee surgery for a year, carried twice for 21 yards. He also caught a pair of short passes. The first one, a 5-yarder across the middle, was followed by a dash up the middle that the coaches whistled to a stop before he was tackled. The brief run brought a hearty cheer from the small crowd that assembled in the stands.
In the absence of Mitchell, backup Mike Richmond turned in an impressive night. He was 18 for 28 for 229 yards and three touchdowns. He completed a 14-yard throw to Dean Witkin for one score and followed with a 25-yard strike to Curt Jones and a 35-yarder to Aaron Grimm.
Safety Greg Smith had an interception and linebacker Frank Bonafacio a fumble recovery. Sacks were registered by Garland Harris, Molonai Hola, Erroll Martin, James Thompson and Wallin Fanene.