Utah Being Patient On Naming Its Starting Quarterback
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When former Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer announced he was coming to the University of Utah as a grad transfer it seemed set that he would be the starting quarterback for 2021.
Brewer would have all spring to know the system all on his own since Jake Bentley left the Ute program to South Alabama and Cam Rising is still recovering from a shoulder injury that ended his season in the first game of 2020.
When spring practice started for Utah, Brewer was listed as the starting quarterback on the initial two-deep, but head coach Kyle Whittingham releases a two-deep, just because, and admits there is nothing to see.
“We typically just put a two-deep down unless there’s a situation where two guys are on equal footing,” Whittingham said. “But it’s just a very raw early speculation on how we’re going in and what we feel is the pecking order right now.
“That could change dramatically as guys start to take reps. So really nothing to read into that other than we don’t have any guys coming back other than [quarterback] Cam [Rising] who will not be participating. We don’t list guys on the two-deep who will not be participating in spring ball. So we’ll just do best guess scenario and let it sort itself out.”
A two-deep is clearly put out to garner some competition among the players participating in spring football. A tool to get guys motivated with no games in the near future to look forward to after the month’s worth of practices.
Quarterbacks Need To Be Handled With Care
The quarterback position is the glamor position on any football team and like it or not are treated a bit differently than others. That means this group of players need to be told certain things to stick around with a program since players can transfer and are increasingly given the green light from the NCAA to be immediately eligible.
Whittingham said in his initial press conference during spring football that Brewer earned the nod due to him being an upperclassman with experience.
“We’ll do a best-guess scenario and let it sort itself out. Charlie’s the upperclassman, the senior,” Whittingham said. “All the other ones are freshmen, so naturally, we figured Charlie would be the leader of that group, at least at the onset, and we’ll see what happens from there.”
Whittingham giving Brewer the edge and saying because he is a senior is smart plus it is also smart to not commit to a starter and allow Rising to be part of the competition when fall ball starts.
“I’m focused on getting back and that’s my only goal right now. I don’t really worry about what happened, I can only control what I can control,” Rising said in his first media appearance since the fall. “Competition drives me. It’s the reason I play football, it’s the reason I love football, because you’re always continuing to try and get better, and having a great quarterback room is only going to drive me to be better and drive those guys to be better.”
“I just feel sorry for these coaches. I feel sorry because they have to manage the propaganda. They have to put this out publicly that there’s a [quarterback] competition because guys will just up and leave,” Mitchell said. “I really believe they like Cam Rising. There’s just no way, or a very slight chance, that he’s going to have Charlie Brewer is going to go all the way through spring and that’s huge.
“Charlie Brewer’s not chopped liver and is a real player in college football. So, you’ve got Charlie Brewer going through all spring ball and then going into the summer where I know Cam Rising is coming back from this injury, but it’s a throwing shoulder injury,” Mitchell added. “I had this in my career in the NFL, and it took a good year before I ever felt like I had the same kind of zip and movement.”
This move to delay announcing a quarterback by Whittingham clearly points to not wanting to lose depth at the position. If he were to announce a starting quarterback at the end of spring camp there is a chance that players would find a new program to play.
Brewer has just one year of eligibility left so it might not cause multiple quarterbacks to leave the program, but Whittingham doesn’t want to take that chance to losing incoming freshman Peter Costelli, who is a former four-star commit, or Texas transfer Ja’Quinden Jackson who has four years of eligibility left.
It is all about amassing talent and using it to Utah’s advantage and this makes naming, or in this case, not naming a starting quarterback early in the process.