Five Thoughts On Utah’s Final Scrimmage Of Fall Camp
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah football wrapped up their second and final scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday and a lot of battles are being settled.
The starting quarterback is expected to be named by the middle of next week at the latest. The cornerbacks are being positioned for the season opener on Saturday, November 7 against Arizona at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Utah is also figuring out the running backs but after the media met with head coach Kyle Whittingham, that battle has not had much separation.
Here are five thoughts from Kyle Whittingham’s session with the media on Saturday afternoon, following the scrimmage.
After this scrimmage on Saturday, Whittingham and the coaching staff will look to name a starting quarterback by early next week to the middle of the week. Without watching film from Saturday’s scrimmage, Whittingham was pleased with the play of the quarterbacks.
“At first blush, we’re gonna obviously dissect the film, but we had good play from the quarterbacks, very good play, bordering on outstanding,” Whittingham stated. “We’ll take a good hard look at this tape and hopefully have a decision on Monday. If we need a few more days, we have that luxury. But as I said, a couple days ago, Wednesday or Thursday would be absolutely the time that we have to come to a conclusion. If we get it done on Monday, then that’s great. We’ll see what happens.”
Coach Whittingham won’t announce the starter until game week.
Young Freshmen Standing Out
With one of the best recruiting classes in school history in 2020, Utah needed that in the worst way after losing key starters on offense and nine starters on defense from the 11-3 team in 2019. Whittingham mentioned a laundry list of freshmen that are playing well in camp and that performed well in the second scrimmage.
“Start with Ty Jordan. He’s an explosive player, he’s built, not very tall. He’s 5’8, 5’9 but he’s 200 pounds or just a hair under. 10×500 meter guy in high school,” Whittingham said. “So he’s got blazing speed, and he’s got a great feel for angles and instinctiveness when he runs the football, when to cut, when to try to outrun somebody. And he’s got great vision, can see holes and also very good out of the backfield catching the football. I don’t want to say that he’s going to be the lead back but he’s got a bright future and there’s no doubt about that. Jaren Kump, he’s doing a phenomenal job. You will see a lot of him. Nate Ritchie, Tennessee Pututau, Tanoa Togiai, Van Fillinger, Xavier Carlton. I am filling your ex Carlton. Clark Phillips was obvious from day one that he was going to be a factor. So there’s going to be a bunch of freshmen that get a lot of playing time.”
Clark Phillips III Outside Corner Or Nickel?
Utah’s highest rated recruit in school history, Clark Phillips III is among the many standout true freshmen through fall camp. When training camp began earlier this month, Phillips was getting reps at both nickel and outside cornerback. Now, he is getting more reps on the outside.
“He’s more focused on outside now,” Whittingham mentioned. “We gave him a good dose of nickel earlier in camp and then we shifted gears and given him more of an opportunity to play outside. Because we want our best three out there and he’s one of the best three. It gives us the flexibility where to play him. The nickel spot is more demanding more difficult both physically and mentally, at least in our scheme, it’s tougher assignments. So that’s where we started him out initially and got him used to that and the transition from there to outside is much easier to move than from outside to inside. He’s capable of playing either one and he’s one of the best three in 14 days, he will be starting at one of the two spots.
Phillips will get playing time this season. It sounds like outside corner will be his position but will be able to play nickel, making him more versatile.
Utah football tweeted out photos of the scrimmage and showed Phillips hauling in an interception in the end zone.
Wide Receiver Group Solidified
One of the stronger position groups for Utah’s 2020 team is the wide receivers, that lost just two contributors from last season. Whittingham mentioned the players that will be getting the majority of the reps at wideout this season.
“Not as deep as we were coming into the season,” said Whittingham. “Tyrone Smith being out, and it’s a significant injury, he’ll be out until June, I believe it’s going to be a while and then of course, Jaylen Dixon decided to to go elsewhere, which leaves us with six guys that really are going to get the vast majority of the reps, maybe all the reps, and that is Solomon Enis, Bryan Thompson, Britain Covey, (Devaughn) Vele is also in the mix. They’re doing a great job. Samson (Nacua) is a guy that just keeps making play after play after play and then Money Parks, freshman wide receiver that we just got this year… But those first six are really the guys that are the primary targets.”
Running Back Battle
According to Whittingham on Saturday, it sounded like the running back battle is not creating any separation. But Ty Jordan has been turning heads during camp through three weeks.
“There’s four guys that are doing a great job. Same for guys I listed last week (Jordan) Wilmore, (Devin) Brumfield, (Micah) Bernard and our freshman, Ty Jordan who did some really good things today. He’s a very dynamic, explosive player,” Whittingham mentioned.
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