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Utah LB Devin Lloyd Believes Utes Have Talent To Win Pac-12 Championship

Utah Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd (20) runs for a touchdown after intercepting a pass during a football game against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. Utah won 52-7. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah junior linebacker Devin Lloyd believes that the Utes have the talent to finish the job and win the Pac-12 Championship.

Lloyd joined the Crimson Corner podcast to discuss his goals and the upcoming 2020 season with so many new faces on the defensive side of the football.

“I want to get back to the Pac-12 Championship,” Lloyd told KSL Sports. “We have to finish it this time. I want to get to the Pac-12 Championship and I want to win a Rose Bowl. I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t think we could do it. We have great coaches, we have great players – yeah we are young – but we are talented and we are hungry. I know that we can accomplish anything that we want to accomplish. At the end of the day, you can control what you can control and if we do that I think we have what it takes.”

The Utes lost to Oregon in the 2019 Pac-12 Championship game after winning their second south division title.

You can listen to the full interview with Devin Lloyd on the Crimson Corner podcast, below.

Shortened Spring Ball With Many New Faces

With 9 starters on defense departing the program which all have landed on NFL rosters, Lloyd is one of just two returning starters on defense. Heading into his junior year, Lloyd is expected to be the leader of not only the defense but the entire football team.

“Yeah, you could say that,” mentioned Lloyd. “At the end of the day I am just taking pride in first of all being a leader of a team so making sure I am doing everything right, making sure I am doing all of the things and setting the example for all of the young guys. Then my game is going to elevate, I am taking advantage of every day to try to improve my game. I want to lead by example and by my play. Hopefully all of that combined will be a good leader for the team.”

Lloyd and the rest of the veterans on the team have taken the young players under their wing.

“We have a lot of young guys who are hungry, talented and I am just excited to play with them,” Lloyd stated. “Ever since day one when they came in we have taken them under our wing and showing them the Utah way of doing things. We do everything the right way and we are not going to let anything slide. Our goal is to show them to do things the right way. All of the young guys have bought in and they continue to buy in everyday.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Utah was only able to get three practices in during spring ball in what was supposed to be a very important spring training camp but the team was very productive in the three practices they had.

“They were very productive,” Lloyd said. “Obviously time was limited with who we had but I think we got a lot of good work in with those three practices. We did what we had to do during those three days.”

Transition From Safety To Linebacker

When Lloyd was in high school at Otay Ranch, he was a safety, wide receiver and punter. After arriving at Utah, the coaches moved him to linebacker and that has definitely fit the skill set that Lloyd has.

“The impact you have on the game in every play,” Lloyd said. “At free safety you are in deep post a lot and can make plays with long balls and everything in the air but you are not really playing the run game. Playing the run game fits more of my strength just with my size, speed and length. I think that fits more with my skill set and I think it’s more fun.”

Last season entering fall camp, Lloyd was projected to be in the linebacker rotation behind Francis Bernard and Manny Bowen. But, the unexpected departure of Bowen before the first practice left the starting spot to Lloyd and he capitalized on the opportunity.

“Honestly, I wanted to work as hard as I could. I knew that whenever my time came I was going to take advantage of it,” stated Lloyd. “That was my mentality all through spring and through fall camp. I wasn’t worried about the rotation or anything because at the end of the day I knew I was going to get time. I wanted to take advantage of the reps that I did have. Things started to fall into place and I was there in that spot but the mentality didn’t change.”

During the 2019 season, Lloyd started all 14 games at rover linebacker and led the team with 91 tackles and was ranked second on the team with 6.5 sacks. The player that finished second in tackles was Francis Bernard. Lloyd said he learned a lot from Bernard in 2019.

“Tremendously, he showed me so much when it comes to understanding how to watch film,” Lloyd said. “He taught me a lot about breaking down film and your opponent. He is also a crafty linebacker. Playing alongside of him was great.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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