Whittingham Reveals Movement In Utah Backup Quarterback Battle

Apr 4, 2023, 8:15 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football is trucking along through spring ball as head coach Kyle Whittingham revealed some movement in the backup quarterback battle among other nuggets of information.

Utah has a great shot at three-peating in 2023 as conference champions- something that has never been done in the Pac-12-era but will require a lot of work on the Utes’ part to accomplish given the returning depth across the Conference of Champions.

If you missed last week’s Whittingham breakdown, you can review it here. Otherwise, here is what the man in charge had to say about Utah football and the QB2 battle in week three of spring ball.


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Things Are Beginning To Look A Little Rosey

After remaining mum on exactly where things stood in regard to the second-string quarterback battle last week, Whittingham revealed today that things are beginning to trend in Brandon Rose’s favor.

“Brandon Rose got the majority of reps at quarterback today,” Whittingham said. “He did some good things, also turned the ball over at times, but he’s making progress. Pretty much what I said last week. We are starting to see a little bit more separation and Brandon is probably the guy that has shown out the best so far in spring ball.”

Nothing is set in stone yet as Whittingham also revealed Nate Johnson has been slowed down a bit by a leg injury.

“Nothing is definitive by any means,” Whittingham said. “Nate is slowed down right now by a little nagging leg injury so he didn’t get many reps today. Hopefully we get him back Thursday though.

Whittingham was very clear that while Rose has separated himself a bit to this point, he nor any of the other quarterbacks are where the coaching staff wants them to be in terms of accuracy and completions yet.

“Just continue to assimilate the offense, run the offense affectively and understand all of his reads and progressions,” Whittingham said. “Become more accurate. We all need to become more accurate right now. We’re not really where we need to be with our completion percentage.”

Whittingham also gave kudos to his starter, Cam Rising for being a great leader from the sidelines while he continues to recover from his ACL surgery back in January. Whittingham noted Rising has been helpful to the other quarterbacks in getting them up to speed.

“He’s been mentoring the quarterbacks, he’s helping them out,” Whittingham said. “He’s been coaching them up when they are not in, obviously, and he’s a guy they certainly listen to. He’s a big positive for us.”

A Culture Of Working Hard

One reporter astutely noted it has been a while since Whittingham has reported an “off” day in effort from his team. Whittingham’s response was that Utah is in a place where guys know what is expected within the culture of the program.

“If you want to play here, there are two things you need to do,” Whittingham said. “Your coach has got to believe you know what to do and you have to be able to physically do it. It’s pretty simple. Guys understand that and they are coming out every day trying to prove that to their position coaches that they deserve to be able to be on that airplane or on that travel squad when we come to fall camp and the season.”

The Growth Of Lander Barton

Last year Lander Barton was a freshman for the Utes and just trying to get his feet under him. Granted, he accomplished that very quickly and became a weapon on defense as the season wore on. This year, as a sophomore, Barton is already considered a leader not only on the defense, but for the entire team.

“He’s a tremendous football player,” Whittingham said. “Exactly what we hoped he would be when we recruited him. He’s like an old veteran now and he’s only been here a year. He plays and performs like a veteran and he’s one of our team leaders already only a year into the program.”

Let’s Play Catch

One area fans and coaches alike want to see continued improvement on for the Utes in 2023 is the wide receivers. Whittingham says a couple of vets along with a newcomer have mostly impressed early on.

“Devaughn Vele, number one, he’s our premier weapon on the outside,” Whittingham said. “Money Parks has got tremendous speed and a lot of upside, but still too many drops. We’ve got to get those drops worked out- he has good hands but has to concentrate a little bit better. You know who is looking good? Mikey Matthews, our freshman that got here a few months ago has been doing some really good things.”

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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Whittingham Reveals Movement In Utah Backup Quarterback Battle