UTAH UTES

Linebackers, Offensive Line Continue To Make Leadership Strides According To Whittingham

Apr 5, 2022, 8:32 PM | Updated: 8:37 pm
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham during fall camp. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)...
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham during fall camp. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah is in their third week of spring ball, and it appears some questions about the Utes are beginning to be answered. Both the linebackers and offensive line seem to be making the improvements they need to while also figuring out who to turn to for leadership in 2022.

Linebackers

Replacing the talent level of Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell is tough enough, but adding in their leadership qualities is quite another. However, Whittingham seemed pleased with the current state of his linebacker room Tuesday evening.

“I would say the leader right now is Karene Reid of the linebacker crew,” Whittingham said. “We think we have a good group. They are still- there isn’t a lot of experience because we lost our two guys who virtually played every snap the last couple years.”

While young, Utah’s linebackers appear to be adjusting to the college game to Whittingham’s liking. He was quick to shoutout the freshmen after practice and thinks they will be in good shape come fall camp.

“I will tell you the young guys are doing a great job,” Whittingham said. “The guys who just got here from high school- Lander Barton, Justin Medlock, and Carson Tabaracci. Those guys have really added to that group.”

One More Linebacker Addition

Currently, Florida transfer Mohamoud Diabate is limited to film study while recovering from an injury this spring. Once Diabate is fully healed, Utah expects him to add more experience and athleticism to the position group.

“He’s learning the defense, at least in the film room,” Whittingham said. “He’s unable to do much on the field obviously, but we have all summer long and all fall camp. He’s a guy who has played a lot of football, so he should come around really quick once he’s back on the field.”

Offensive Line

From a leadership standpoint, junior Braeden Daniels has picked up where NFL bound Nick Ford has left off. Whittingham feels Daniels also has the talent to be as versatile as Ford.

“Braeden is the leader of the offensive line,” Whittingham said. “He’s a guy that everybody looks to and he’s playing left tackle for us exclusively right now which is what we need. He’s doing a good job.”

Another name Ute fans should make themselves familiar with is Michael Mokofisi who Whittingham said was running with the first team offensive line during Tuesday’s practice.

“Right now he’s battling for the starting right guard job,” Whittingham said. “He’s right in the mix and ran with the ones today. He’s a guy we think has a big upside.”

More Bodies, More Depth

Whittingham seems confident about where the offensive line is at this spring concerning usable depth. Guys like Zereoue Williams, Falcon Kaumatule, and Tanoa Togiai have all stepped up and improved their games through spring.

“We should have a very solid two deep, maybe can go to 11 or 12 with that offensive line in the season,” Whittingham said.

 

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