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A Few Thoughts On Utah Football’s First Week Of Spring Ball

Mar 26, 2023, 4:27 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football has wrapped up their first week of spring ball and by all accounts it sounds like the team has gotten off to a great start.

Obviously, traveling with Utah women’s basketball this week put me a little out-of-pocket with the start of the Utes’ spring practices than normally would be, but I’ve taken some time to go back and listen to some of the interviews and a few things really stuck out.

Here are some of my thoughts on Utah football’s first week of spring ball and where things should be heading into week two.

The Utes Have Added Depth Everywhere

This was a word several coaches used when describing not only their units, but the team as a whole. Morgan Scalley, Alvis Whitted, Quinton Ganther, Sharrieff Shah, Jim Harding, Colton Swan, Lewis Powell, Freddie Whittingham, and Luther Elliss all talked in some way, shape or form about the depth in their rooms and how it’s going to be about identifying pecking orders through spring.

Anyone that has followed Utah football for a while now knows that was not always the case- especially in the early Pac-12 era. What a change it is to hear coaches feeling confident that they have players they feel confident can step up to the plate if they are needed with little to no drop-off in production.

Injuries are a part of this sport and the Utes have seen more than their fair share of entire rooms being decimated by them and seasons going sideways. Obviously, I believe we have really started to see the shift in depth for Utah in 2021, but seeing it sustained and continuing to improve is very encouraging.

Utah Players Are Taking Ownership

Another consistent theme from this first week from the coaches has been a sense of ownership amongst the players. Whether it has been guys putting in the extra work to improve their bodies, study film, or ask questions about what they should be doing a lot of the coaches are on record talking about Utah’s dedication to their craft.

A few standouts that were brought up include Connor O’Toole putting on good weight at the defensive end position, Tao Johnson, Miles Battle, and Ja’Quinden Jackson constantly asking their coaches questions, and Cam Rising helping the quarterbacks who are getting the touches in his absence this spring up to speed.

These things aren’t always what get highlighted because they are more behind the scenes but are so important to the overall health of a program. If you don’t have complete buy-in and guys consistently going above and beyond what is asked, your chances of success become harder and harder.

To hear so early on how many players are taking the opportunity to improve and work on the little things ahead of when it counts should be pleasing to fans.

Everyone Is Excited To Put The Pads On

This one applies a little more to the defensive side of the ball but was spoken about quite a bit. Utah by all accounts, is ready to get those pads popping and get into the nitty gritty of evaluating what they really have on their hands.

This particular point will be important heading into week two as the team gets out of the “we’re happy to be here” phase of spring camp and starts putting in the real work that will help the coaches determine what their depth charts will look like and what they need to continue teaching their rooms in order to get better.

Media availability will resume on Tuesday and Thursday for week two of Utah’s spring ball. The media will be able to observe the last 20 minutes of practice on Tuesday and talk to head coach Kyle Whittingham about where the team currently sits at the start of the second week of camp.

Utah Is Eyeing That Three-Peat

Utah is in a unique situation to three-peat as Pac-12 Champions in 2023 and the opportunity isn’t lost on anyone in-house.

 

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Head coach Kyle Whittingham said during his first media availability last week that it’s been a conversation had since their second trip to the Rose Bowl ended and everyone understands what is at stake. Several players and coaches echoed Whittingham’s sentiments. Going hard for the three-peat is a team goal and something Utah is actively trying to prepare themselves to do in 2023.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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A Few Thoughts On Utah Football’s First Week Of Spring Ball