A Dyson was scampering impressively, carrying the football. Big No. 6 was bulldozing out of the backfield. A young quarterback was bidding to be part of the plan.
But it wasn't the Retro Utes.It was redshirt freshman running back Patrick Dyson, younger brother of last week's first-round NFL draftee Kevin, who caught Utah coach Ron McBride's eye in Saturday's final spring scrimmage at the practice field in front of 300-400 fans.
Also obvious Saturday were RS freshman runner Thomas Fortune, wearing NFL sixth-rounder Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala's old No. 6, RS sophomore quarterback T.D. Croshaw and the backdrop of the new Rice Stadium rising in the distance.
"Patrick Dyson (seven carries, 30 yards) was the biggest surprise of the whole thing," said McBride. "He ran like I remember him running in high school. Thomas Fortune (10-for-51) proved himself (in a scrimmage) a week ago, and today, Patrick proved himself, so now, all of a sudden Patrick puts himself right into the mix."
Patrick, the middle Dyson (brother Andre is a sophomore defensive back), was out of football for a couple of years, but Kevin says he was the best of the three. Patrick entered the Ute program with Andre last year. Andre played while Patrick spent a redshirt year learning.
Ute coaches say they know what No. 1 runner Omar Bacon (10-45) can do, and now they've got two young players adding depth, and they'll have junior-college runners Michael Anderson and D'Shaun Crock-ett to incorporate in the fall.
It could be a bloody battle for time. Under new offensive coordinator Tommy Lee, Utah will be more of a one-back offense than ever. "Schematically, we can be a little more balanced (run/pass) with one back," Lee says. To improve consistency, Lee narrowed the offensive package. "We have pared it down and emphasized execution this spring," he says.
Of the overall scrimmage, scripted because so many injuries have carried over from last fall, McBride said, "What I wanted to see is the offense and defense both have success. The No. 1 offense did well, and the No. 1 defense did well. (We wanted to) put the defense in as many difficult situations as you put them in, and they seemed to respond well to them."
Four defenders had sacks - tackle Rod Talaeai for -8, end Everestt Matagi for -6, end Brian Bachhuber for -7 and linebacker Dicky (he's changed the spelling from Dickie) Purcell for -7, and tackle Richard Seals had a tackle-for-loss at -2.
The Utes have two experienced QBs in Darnell Arceneaux (4-for-7 55, 1 rushing TD) and Jonathan Crosswhite (7-for-9 157, a dropped pass, one TD of 30 yards to Daniel Jones), and both did well. Croshaw also earned praise from McBride and Lee. "He sat in the pocket and made some plays," Mc-Bride said.
Lee said Arceneaux probably remains No. 1, as he has been since starting and winning the last two games last fall, but Crosswhite is a viable option.
McBride and Lee emphasized there's "no quarterback controversy" because Arceneaux and Crosswhite have different skills - Crosswhite a dropback, Arceneaux a scrambler.
The QBs say they're teaching each other and like the competition.
"Right now, our position is probably stronger than it's ever been because you've got two guys competing, going hard every day. That's what you want," says Arceneaux, a sophomore. "He was the starter last year. He tells me a lot of things before the snap of what he went through last year. When he gives me info, I put it in; I listen to what he has to say."
"I think it's great that Darnell and I are competing for the job," says Crosswhite, a senior who thought briefly of transferring out but decided he finishes what he starts. "In practice, you can't just go through the motions. Darnell's teaching me a lot of things about scrambling and how to handle myself in the pocket when things break down, and I help him out in parts of the passing game, so we're a complement to each other."
Each made a 30-yard pass play to Jones (4-67). Arceneaux rolled and threw on the move and Jones made the diving catch of the day. Crosswhite threw a TD screen to Jones. Jerome Anderson caught three for 41, and Chris Christensen three for 63 yards.
Utah ends spring drills with no-contact practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.