Utah Utes Quarterback Watch: A Good Problem To Have

Oct 9, 2020, 2:58 PM
utah utes quarterback...
Photos: Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In this election season we are faced with a tough decision about who will be our leader and the choice is complex. There are many issues and facts to consider. The decision that is ultimately made could have ramifications for years to come. We must choose wisely.

No, I’m not talking about who should be president. I’m talking about who should be the quarterback for the University of Utah football team.

Over the course of the next few weeks leading up to the season, I’m going to give my insight into who I, former Ute quarterback, think should be the man under center for the Utes in this bizarre, COVID-19 pandemic season.

Are The Utes Rebuilding Or Retooling?

I believe the foundation of what the Utes will do at quarterback is based on how they view this season. They will tell you that they are always competing for a championship, but the truth is some years are more building years than contending years. This year might just be that. When you lose nine defensive starters and your three-year starting quarterback, along with your star running back. It’s most likely a rebuild for the Utes.

With that being said, Utah has done an exceptional job of recruiting the past few years. There is talent in the program, it’s just inexperienced talent. The Utes could easily see this as a retooling year and be very competitive.

Utah Football & The Quarterback Position

So, here’s where I think the team is regarding the quarterback position. If it is a rebuilding year – Utah should play the younger guy, Cam Rising. If it is a retooling year – Utah should go with experience and Jake Bentley.

Let’s talk about rebuild and why the younger player is better. Think back to Troy Williams who was coming off a nine-win season, he lost out to sophomore Tyler Huntley because it was a rebuilding year for Utah. Huntley had three more years Williams just had one.

Huntley’s first season was filled with growing pains, Utah took the bumps that year and it paid off big time for the next two years. The Huntley decision ultimately led to two Pac-12 championship games. Huntley was a huge factor in both of those years.

This year could be a throwaway year, give Rising this year to get his feet wet, take his bumps and let Utah contend again next year for the title. If you don’t play him then next season is the build year and you have fewer years to contend. Think of this as taking one step back to move two steps forward.

Ok, let’s say that Utah can contend this year, which is a very real possibility considering the short season and favorable schedule. Then you go with Bentley. He is a proven player, 31 starts in the SEC and 19 wins.

I think Utah will take a championship regardless of how they get it. This year could be that year.

Remember, everyone thinks Oregon is the favorite, but they have lost their entire OL and their QB to graduation, plus several other top players who opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft. In other words, the Pac-12 is wide open.

Another case for Bentley is the lack of experience on Utah’s defense. Early on in the season you are going to need explosive offense to make up for mistakes and growth that is bound to happen on the defense.

The cool thing about the quarterback situation at Utah this year is there are options and really good options at that. I’m excited to see how this unfolds and look forward to sharing more insight.

Scott Mitchell hosts the Helmets Off podcast and KSL Unrivaled on KSL Newsradio. Find him on Twitter here.

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