Mike Terry, Deseret Morning News
Backup quarterback Corbin Louks rushes for a big gain in the Utes' win Saturday. He had runs of 41, 4 and 2 yards, and threw for a TD.

The Ute coaches call it the "Corbin Louks Package."

Really, it's the old "Eric Weddle Package," but now Weddle is playing his football for the NFL's San Diego Chargers. So the Utes turned to the true freshman from Danville, Calif., in the third game of the season, against UCLA, and he didn't disappoint.

And he doesn't exactly back away from inheriting defensive back Weddle's old position on offense as a game changer.

"There's no pressure," Louks said. "Weddle was a defensive guy, and I'm still a quarterback. It's awesome that I get to be a part of the offense. It just feels great."

"It's a big plus for us. It takes so much stress off (quarterback) Brian (Johnson)," said Ute coach Kyle Whittingham on Saturday following a game in which the freshman Weddle-to-be threw Utah's first touchdown pass of the game at 9:53 of the third quarter, an 11-yarder to fellow freshman Jereme Brooks to give the home team a 16-7 lead in what would become a 23-6 win.

"What Weddle gave us last year, Corbin is giving us this year," Whittingham said, "except that he's a quarterback. He's an exceptional thrower. Eric was more a tailback."

But Louks can run, too, and his 41-yard takeoff to the San Diego State 16-yard line set up Johnson's 7-yard pass to Darrell Mack for the 23-7 final.

It was the longest rush of the season by 12 yards for the Utes, and the TD pass was the second of the season for Louks, who threw one to his true-freshman roommate Dallin Rogers against UCLA in Utah's big upset victory. It was "awesome to get the first college touchdown — nothing like it," Louks recalled. "I felt like I was on top of the world."

After all, he was planning to redshirt until that game, but with Johnson hurt and 6-foot-7 Tommy Grady not the fleetest of quarterbacks, the coaches asked Louks to play, and he was only too happy to do so.

Whittingham liked Louks' "unselfishness and willingness to do that with a great attitude."

"He's gotten better each week," the coach said. "We think he's got a future here, obviously. He's got those intangibles that you look for in a quarterback, that field-general mentality. For a true freshman, he does a good job.

"He's very similar to Brian, which makes it easier to put him in the game so we don't have a dramatic change."

Louks said the coaches tell him he'll play in every game now, and he knows about how many plays he'll get but not when they'll come about.

"What triggers us putting Corbin in the game," Whittingham said, "is just situational football, where we are on the field, down-and-distances. There's a method to the madness. It's not just throw Corbin in. Coach (Andy) Ludwig does a great job scripting Corbin's plays, when those plays will be effective."

Louks said his 41-yard run was the result of the offensive line opening the hole, though he thought he could score "until I tripped off one of my cuts, and then I knew the defense was right behind me. I was just happy to put our offense in a good situation so we could score off of it."

He said there's no particular reason both of his TDs were to other true freshmen.

"That's just how it's dialed up, just how it's turned out," he said.

Of Saturday's TD pass, he said, "I thought it was a good play call. We've been practicing that for the whole week, and it was the way we practiced it."

He didn't think Johnson would be mad at him for throwing the first touchdown pass of the game, getting it ahead of the veteran, and he said Johnson is a good teacher for him.

Louks threw for 2,489 yards and 28 touchdowns in his senior year of high school at San Ramon Valley, leading a 10-2 team.


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