The weather saved its best for the last day of Utah football spring drills.
And more than the sun was shining as spring practice ended late Thursday afternoon.Essentially, it was mission accomplished.
"This team improved every day from Day 1," said coach Ron McBride as players headed off the field to turn in their equipment. They won't need pads and helmets for the conditioning drills they'll work at from now until fall practice opens Aug. 13.
Punter Chris Hunter was kicking them 60 yards in the air despite a sore back, kicker Tommy Truhe was showing off a stronger leg, Jonathan Crosswhite was so close to No. 1 quarterback Darnell Arceneaux all spring McBride says he wouldn't hesitate at all to swap them in certain game situations.
"They were under a lot of pressure all spring," he said of the QBs, adding that he also likes sophomore T.D. Crowshaw's work.
"I don't think there are any disappointments," he said.
What's even better, it was, "knock on wood, an injury-free spring," McBride said. And most players who sat out spring because of last season's injuries should be ready by August. Most are close to being ready now.
Utah needed depth at running back and found redshirt freshmen Thomas Fortune and Patrick Dyson doing well behind Omar Bacon.
It needed depth at tight end and found three who can play who have different attributes. C.J. Johnson brings experience and toughness, Matt Nickel brings some experience and 6-foot-6, 265-pound size, and junior Andy Kassotis at 263 pounds is a cross between the other two, McBride says.
Utah needs to replace special-teams returners Kevin Dyson and Clarence Lawson. McBride says Teneil Ethridge, Andre Dyson, Dan-iel Jones, Donny Utu and Court-ney Richins are in the mix.
McBride characterizes several players as "finds," or pleasant surprises. Ricks College transfer Jay Hill stepped in well at defensive back. Roosevelt freshman Kevin Wilson (6-7, 306 pounds), St. George redshirt freshman Ryan Lewis (6-6, 278), and Park City veteran junior Rhett Tatton (6-7, 324), who was injured last season, all have looked good as offensive tackles. Junior-college transfer defensive lineman Bobby Enosa (6-4, 270) of Mountain View, Calif., "is going to be good," says McBride.
Also, walk-on returned missionary Chris Christensen from Sandy, impressive in Saturday's final spring scrimmage, has continued to catch and run well at wide receiver. And JC transfer defensive tackle Rod Talaeai and senior linebacker Dicky Purcell caught McBride's eye this spring.