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Utes Fall Camp – Day 5

I had a good time at the scrimmage today, but only saw limited action from any of the difference makers for this calendar year.

I did however take down a few notes on some of your up-and-comers.

Dre’Vian Young is going to be a talent. He broke a couple of long runs and got the offense excited for the moment. Young has a tremendous ability to break tackles. He was hit four or five times on both big runs and continued to keep his balance and churn his feet as a LB and FS slipped off the tackle. He also has a great ability to see the goal line and fight to the finish line.  He did so, breaking 2 tackles as he spilled in for a TD. That’s where Young separates himself and could be a play maker in the future.  Some HB’s are hungrier near the goal line, sensing the end and fighting with every fiber to finish with 6. He seems to have that.

Moana Ofahengaue had a solid scrimmage. He had 2 pressures and a perceived sack that wasn’t whistled. He was able to get pressure on 2 inside moves. I couldn’t tell if he was given the 2 way go on the call or read down and distance and allowed instinct to take him inside. Both rushes were very impressive. He needs to gain some weight, but he’s still young. This is a kid that Utah should be watching very closely.

I was glad to see Lucky Radley getting reps. He’s fallen on the depth chart, but I for one don’t want these coaches to give up on him as an option. He’s a compact back with power. It’s funny watching him run at times because it seems that he forgets who and what he is. I want him to be a power HB and I think that style best fits him. There are times when he forgets he likes to hit and be hit, and he reverts to finesse. This is where he gets in trouble. His hand loosens on the ball to provide balance on a hard cut and he puts it on the ground. Play like a power back Lucky, keep that mentality, and your grip will never falter on the ball. I haven’t seen him fumble yet in camp, but I’ve only seen him get limited reps.

Dominique Hatfield had a solid scrimmage. He’s the new recruit talent Utah has been looking for. They pulled him out of Crenshaw HS in Cali. UCLA made a late push to get this kid and he drew attention from other D1 schools. He had a solid grab for a 35 yard gain and it was a solid catch. I like WR’s that go get the ball. I like WR’s that snatch it out of the air with bad intentions. Anquan Boldin is the perfect example of that style. There are WR’s that expect the ball to just come to them and complete themselves. They wait and play with T-Rex arms. That’s a sign of fear and weakness to me. I like guys that lay it on the line. Another example of the type of guy I like is Kenneth Scott. He sees the ball well and picks it clean from the air, I love that!

There’s been some talk about Kalani changing his defense. I caught up with Kalani and he explained to me why he’s choosing to throw a few different looks at Pac 12 opponents. The speed of the Pac 12 offenses has hit an all-time high. You have to utilize the benefit of the unknown to catch teams off guard. You can’t show base all game long and allow a team to find gaps. You have to throw different bodies and looks at an offense. Often times, wild looks and sparked gaps can result in blind side shots and forced fumbles. Causing offensive confusion is a solid weapon as long as it doesn’t result in self confusion. You have to have men you can trust to learn and execute their tasks, otherwise you’ll give up large gains for TD’s. There are 4 or 5 guys on this starting defense that Kalani feels he can trust to maneuver from a 4-3 to a 3-4 or an overload look without confusing themselves. These front changes being made affect 3 or 4 guys, but leave the remainder of the jobs similar to what they originally were. This gives you the benefit of using veterans for change and surprise while allowing your young guns to feel confident in base rules.

I’m still concerned for this teams DB’s. They are thin and have shown signs of susceptibility. There’s been too much flux and this prohibits stability. There are a couple of things that could help this problem. Get a D-line that can rush or LB’s that are quick on the blitz. Throw a scheme that confuses teams and different looks that disguise intent. These are just a few cover ups for a thin defensive backfield.