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Cam Rising and Jake Bentley - Utah Utes
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Utah Quarterback Watch: 2020 Season Doesn’t Really Count, Use It To Develop Players

Quarterbacks Cam Rising and Jake Bentley (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Regardless of who the starting quarterback for Utah Football is this fall, I would treat this season as glorified spring football practice, if I were coaching.

That’s right, I know that might seem crazy, but hey, it’s been a crazy year. Let me explain why this might be the best option for Utah.

Over the past month I’ve been sharing my insights about the quarterback situation at Utah. Speculating about who might be the best choice and what that could mean to the team. I know Utah fans are dying to find out who the guy is, and I am pretty sure coach Whitingham knows who the starting quarterback is by now, but frankly, it doesn’t matter at this point.

Here is the reality, Utah will be extremely lucky to play all seven games of the dramatically shortened season. They have zero flexibility in the schedule, if a game can’t be played it will have to be cancelled, end of story.

If you look at the trend in college football and pro football – canceling games is normal. Look no further than Wisconsin and Nebraska. Even high-profile players like Trevor Lawrence are being held out.

Utah will lose players and possible games due to the pandemic through this season. If this is the case then take all the pressure off of winning a conference title and look at this time to significantly develop your roster. How do you develop players then? Simply, play your young talented players as much as you can.

Utah does not lack talent, they lack experience in two areas, defense and quarterback. Let your young guys on defense play, Nate Richie, Clark Phillips III, Van Fillinger and Xavier Carlton need to play, shoot let them start.

If you are going to develop young talent then I would also start Cam Rising this season. Rising has the bigger upside and the program has the most to gain from his development.

Next year he will still have three years to play! That’s huge! It’s tough for Bentley, but how much has he really invested in the program. At best he was a one and done stop gap hired gun.

I am a firm believer that game experience is the only way to develop. You can know the game intellectually and watch all the game film you want, but until you are out in the middle of it feeling it real time you don’t really get it. There are too many scenarios that happen through the course of a season in games that simply can’t be simulated in practice.

Bottom line, the NCAA has gifted you this season, so you lose no eligibility. It’s like this season never really existed. Before it’s over, we may all wished it never existed.

The College Football Playoff Committee are not going to consider a seven-win Pac-12 champion for the playoffs.

So, take the time to get game tested talent who can seriously contend for not only the Pac-12 south but the Conference Title and more next season.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about Utah’s team this year. I really like their chances, but I think the pandemic might have other ideas.


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

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