Morgan Scalley Loves Potential Of Utah’s Defense
SALT LAKE CITY- Fall camp is rolling right along for the Utes, and defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley is loving the potential of what his unit could be in 2022. Utah’s defense, despite still being a tad young does bring back some good experience from their Rose Bowl team. They are also breaking in some new faces at key places which Scalley acknowledged they need to work to get up to speed, but feels like it’s a manageable task.
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The Make-up Of Utah’s Defense
While most of Utah’s defense is returning from 2021 a year older and wiser, there are a few new faces as well. Perhaps the most “glaring” spot will be at linebacker where Scalley and crew will be tasked with finding guys to replace the production of Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell. What has particularly stood out to Scalley early on however, has been the apparent effort everyone put in on their own during the summer.
“You’ve got a couple of positions- newcomers at safety, a couple of newcomers at the ‘backer spot with Barton, Diabate,” Scalley said. “A couple new additions at least. They have been in the program, but Connor O’Toole has moved positions. For the most part- the leadership has shown up. You can tell there has been a lot done without us. That’s how you can tell the difference between an ok team and a good team, and whether or not you have a shot by what they have done on their own. It seems like they have done a great job.”
Vibes were a little more business today IMO. Some of the euphoria of “being back” is appears to be over. Time to go to work. Scalley reiterated the theme from Wednesday that it’s clear this team has done extra work on their own. #YouLoveToHearIt #GoUtes
— Michelle Bodkin (@BodkinKSLsports) August 5, 2022
Mohamoud Diabate And Clayton Isbell
One of the newcomers possibly tasked with filling the void left by Lloyd and Sewell is Florida transfer Mohamoud Diabate. Quarterback Cam Rising was very complimentary of the “cat and mouse” game the two have played early on, and Scalley echoed the praise of his new linebacker.
“Athleticism, speed, energy- he is a savvy football player,” Scalley said. “Bends the right way. He’s not as big as Devin, he’s long, he’s fast, he’s just as quick, but you can tell he was coached up well with Florida. We are fortunate to have him.”
Another newcomer that could find himself with a significant role in the safety rotation is Illinois State transfer Clayton Isbell. Much of what was said about Diabate’s abilities also applies to Isbell. A guy that can cover ground and is smart out on the field.
“He covers a lot of ground, a lot of ground,” Scalley said. “Rangy. The more he understands our scheme, the faster he is going to play, but with that length he poses some problems. Man-to-man coverage against some tight ends and some length in the post. He’s shown up and done a nice job. He’s a guy you can coach hard too. Sometimes the newcomers, you come coach them hard and they look at you like you have 1o heads, but again, he was another kid who was coached well.”
Legacy recruit Lander Barton is one more new face the Utes are liking very early on in his career. All three of his older siblings have been standouts for Utah in their respective sports before him, and it would appear the latest Barton will be no different. Already Scalley says he’s seeing growth in Barton, even with just being on campus a few months now.
“A lot more confident,” Scalley said. “Usually you can tell- it’s in the communication from player-to-player because the ‘backers are always communicating. Those younger guys are usually quiet and those vets are the ones yelling and screaming everything. You can tell he’s gained a lot in the off-season and he’s getting much more confident.”
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