Utah’s Toughness ‘Night and Day’ Compared To Other Teams
HOLLYWOOD, California – Nearly every team in the Pac-12 commented on the physicality and toughness of the University of Utah football team.
Football is a highly physical game so isn’t every team like that? Nearly every player and coach commented that it is “just different” with Utah.
“It’s night and day how much more physical they are,” said Cohl Cabral, center for Arizona State.
At this year’s Pac-12 Media Day in Hollywood, the Utes were picked by members of the media to be the Pac-12 Champions and their toughness likely has something to do with it.
When asked about what it’s like to play Utah, players and coaches in the Pac-12 all commented on defense, toughness and the extended recovery time required after a matchup with the Utes.
“You hope you have a bye the week before or after,” Cabral said.
Practice is different for teams the week following a game against Utah, according to Stanford Head Coach David Shaw – because of the recovery required.
The Utah linebacking core received high praise from University of Washington Center, Nick Harris.
“It is a different ball game with their linebackers,” said Harris.
The linebackers Harris faced last season in the Pac-12 Championship game – Chase Hansen and Cody Barton – graduated. UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelley expressed relief about not having to face Hansen and Barton this year.
This year Utah’s linebacking core is just as strong, according to the color analyst of Utah Football Scott Mitchell, with senior Francis Bernard.
Eno Benjamin, Doak Walker Award Watch List running back out of Arizona State, takes a lot of hits, most running backs do, but he said they are different against Utah.
“I get hit a lot, but I don’t get hit like that.”
The Utes don’t have the Oregon Ducks on their schedule this season and that is a relief to linebacker Troy Dye, who also said the Utes are next level when it comes to hard hits.
Alex Kirry of KSL’s UnRivaled posed the question, “Doesn’t every team make it physical and hit hard?”
“Not like Utah,” responded Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith.
Coach Whittingham hopes when other teams in the Pac-12 think of Utah they think consistency and toughness.
When asked the first thing that comes to mind about Utah California linebacker Evan Weaver said, “I think of consistency.”
He went on to compliment how Utah lines up and plays tough on every down.
“When you play Utah, you are going to come out with bruises,” concluded USC defensive end Christian Recor.
The Utes received high praise from their competitors at this year’s media day, but now it’s time for the season to start so they can prove it the field.
Utah opens the season against BYU in Provo on August 29.
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