Here's the latest from the University of Utah football scene. The Utes ended spring practice with a scrimmage Saturday afternoon in Rice Stadium, and there was still no official word on the starting quarterback job. Tune in Monday for that, but in the meantime you figure it out.
Frank Dolce, who alternated with two other quarterbacks Saturday, led the Ute offense to its only three touchdowns of the day. In the meantime, Mike Richmond, Dolce's competition, spent the day on the sidelines nursing an old shoulder injury.Oh, yes, the scrimmage. Played in front of 500 or so diehard fans, it matched the first-team defense against the second offense, and visa versa. Running back Charlie Brown was the day's leading rusher (no statistics were kept). He broke several long runs during the afternoon, not to mention several tackles en route to a 10-yard touchdown.
Similarly, Bryan Rowley was in mid-season form, making several catches, including a leaping snag on the sidelines.
Dolce, a 1989 junior college All-American who redshirted last season, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Rowley and connected with tight end Greg Hoffman for 30 yards to set up another touchdown. The Question of the Hour - and the entire spring, for that matter - was who would be the starting quarterback next fall? Coach Ron McBride wasn't saying.
"We'll make a decision on Monday." Actually, McBride indicated he's already made a decision; he just hasn't told anyone what it is yet. "I want to talk to the kids first," he says.
"I think my chances are good," said Dolce. When someone asked if he'd be surprised if he weren't named the starter, Dolce started to say no, but changed his mind. "Well, maybe."
Richmond, who split the starting job with Jason Woods last year, is used to such situations by now. Surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder forced Richmond to miss last year's spring practice and cost him the starting job on opening day. Last week the injury flared up again and put him on the sidelines again on Saturday.
"It would be hard for them (coaches) to name me the starter," he said. "I sat out the last week of practice. With my shoulder uncertain, it's got to make it difficult. But they started Jason last year and I still got in there. I've just got to get back on my old rehab routine."
With Richmond absent Saturday, Dolce alternated with Stewart Hansen and Woods. Woods? Yes, Woods, three weeks after asking to be moved to tight end, has asked to return to his old quarterback spot, but this time he's near the bottom of the depth chart. "His heart wasn't in it at tight end," said McBride. Despite the layoff, Woods threw several sharp passes, including a bomb that should've gone for a touchdown, but was dropped instead by Sean Williams.
If nothing else, Saturday's scrimmage gave coaches another chance to look over the newcomers and there are plenty of those. Remember the name: Reggie Alston. A junior college transfer from Mississippi, Alston was immediately made a starter at free safety - a 6-foot-31/2, 230-pound free safety, with 4.45 speed.
"We knew he was a player the day he walked on campus, the first time we watched him in drills," says McBride.
More are on the way. Many of the the Utes' top prospects won't report until next fall. The best of the bunch are Pierre Jones and Keith Williams, a pair of Prop. 42 running backs, Gary Potts, an offensive lineman from Chabot JC; Kelvin Lambert, a JC linebacker; and Sam Rhoades, another JC defensive back from Mississippi.