Utah State thought it was loaded at running back, but a walk-on freshman reworked the depth chart at Wednesday night's final preseason game-like scrimmage in Romney Stadium.
Ernesto Ramos, of Alamagordo, N.M., where he was an option quarterback/defensive back, made the night's most-electrifying play, a 77-yard run after seemingly being stopped at the line. He was caught at the 3 by Sean Coleman and said speed and conditioning are what he needs to work on."It looked like guys had opportunities at him, but he hung in with the offensive line and kept his feet moving," said coach Charlie Weatherbie. "We had seen him do some things like that in special drills." Weatherbie said it's likely he moved up. "Right now, he's probably No. 2 or No. 3."
"I was just following my lineman," Ramos said. "I had a hand on his back, and when he went down, I went around." Ramos got to USU because his prep javelin coach is brother-in-law to Ag assistant Scott Runyan.
"He's like a bowling ball. He bounces around," said starting quarterback Matt Wells, who completed 10 of 18 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. "He's a real good addition to our team."
Wells and soph receiver Shawn Turner made the game's other big plays on TD passes of 39 and 35 yards.
Because the offense came in big plays, Weatherbie wasn't totally happy. "I didn't see any sustained drives. You've got to have both," he said. "We're getting better offensively. It takes some time for the offense to mature every season because there's so much timing."
Backup QB Aaron Flowers was 4-for-7-43 with a TD and an interception. Starting rusher Profail Grier had 8 carries for 13 yards and two TDs.
Every season, USU loses a starting offensive lineman for the season to injury. This time it's tackle Brian Davies, a soph who went down Monday in a no-contact anterior cruciate knee ligament accident. Soph Marcus Daley moved to left tackle, and JC transfer Jared Tuione to right guard.
Weatherbie liked offensive linemen Randy Clemons and Shane Stevenson and tight end Mike Hamilton, all newcomers, and the defense overall - "except for the big plays." He said corner Donald Toomer "came up and did some physical things against the run," and backup linebacker Gary Brown "is improving day after day."
Micah Knorr retained the placekicking spot over '93 starter Nate Morreale, though both were 4-for-5 and each kicked two field goals of 48 yards.