Previewing Utah’s 2022 Schedule With Unrivaled: Washington State
Jun 13, 2022, 10:47 AM
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY- Summer is here which means it’s a great time to start thinking about the 2022 Utah football schedule. While we are still a few months out from fall camp, it’s never too early to start previewing the Utes’ opponents with the help of Alex Kirry and Scott Mitchell of Unrivaled. Last time we previewed Utah’s sixth game of the year against UCLA, with help from sideline reporter Wayne Cook. This week we will jump ahead to the eighth game on Utah’s schedule against Washington State on October 27th with Voice of the Cougs, Matt Chazanow.
Coming Back From Turmoil
On the Utah side, we all know how cruel the Washington State game has been the past two years to the Utes with the Cougars being the last team both Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe ever played against.
Lost in the shuffle is the turmoil WSU has faced down with former embattled head coach Nick Rolovich the past two seasons in regards to his response on the Covid-19 pandemic. Ultimately, Rolovich’s unwillingness to comply with university protocols saw him being fired in the the middle of the 2021 football season. The Cougars responded quite well in the face of adversity and according to Chazanow, it was largely in part of interim head coach turned full-time head coach Jake Dickert.
“I think what Jake Dickert did was earn the job,” Chazanow said. “He’s a guy, if you look at his bio, would not be hired for this. He’s a first time head coach, a longtime DII coach. He comes from a Craig Bohl influence at Wyoming and did a great job there. He just crushed it. He’s a great guy, young energy. The whole staff is pretty young. It’s really, really exciting and impressive what he did last year.”
Part of what makes Dickert so special and the “right guy” according to Chazanow, is Dickert’s ability to have a vision and plan before he has to be called into action. Dickert was only supposed to be the defensive coordinator, but was prepared with a plan for whenever he got his shot to be a head coach and it paid off.
“He had a vision when he was hired at the coordinator- not that he was doing anything- he wasn’t here to be a head coach, but he’s had a plan,” Chazanow said. “He knows what his blueprint is and when he got the opportunity, surprisingly, nobody could have ever predicted what happened, so when it came his way he was ready and wasn’t caught flat-footed.”
Replacing Jayden de Laura
Washington State isn’t just starting over with a new head coach in 2022. They also will be replacing their starting quarterback after starter Jayden de Laura transferred to Arizona in the offseason.
“The story is Cam Ward,” Chazanow said. “He actually made some national pub with what he was doing at Incarnate Word and Eric Morris who comes here as his O.C. That was not a package deal. That was not some setup thing. Cam Ward was heavily recruited by Lane Kiffen at Ole Miss. The Cougs want to go back to the Rose Bowl. They do. They want to go back and they had an NIL situation with Ward, and he was familiar with the system and Eric Morris. He comes in now with a few years left of eligibility and it’s only spring, right? Who knows? We will see what happens in the fall, but he’s the guy who is supposed to come in here and keep it going.”
One thing Washington State has become known for is being unexpectedly good, even going back to their Rose Bowl appearance in 2003. According to Chazanow it’s become a bit of a calling card for the Cougars and is something he feels in a lot of ways the Utes can relate to as well.
“They are never the team that’s not under-the-radar, that’s what Cougar football is,” Chazanow said. “That’s almost part of the brand and the spirit is that this isn’t 22 five-star recruits which is how this hype gets started. It’s not about what you’ve done on the field right now when you start all of these discussions. A lot of it if we are being honest, is what is the brand like for these kids in their junior and senior year of high school and their star rating. Utah might be the best team in the country to fly in the face of that with guys like Devin Lloyd and all of the pros that the Utes have pumped out.”
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