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Whittingham, Utes Piecing Together 2022 Depth Chart

Aug 15, 2022, 6:29 PM
Whittingham-First-Day-Fall-Camp...
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham watches his players during first day of fall ball. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham continues to be pleased with how his 2022 football team is shaping up. While there are fewer question marks than in years past, there are a few areas Utah will need to make some decisions on soon, and Saturday’s closed scrimmage went a long way toward that. A few more days may be needed for Whittingham and the Utes to know for sure how the depth chart will lay out, but things have been looking good in the process.

“Very good, it was a good scrimmage,” Whittingham said during Monday’s media availability. “We got a lot of work done. We came out healthy which is always the number one objective. This team has worked hard all camp long- we are 11 practices in or there-about and like where we are right now.”

Shaking Out The Depth Chart

Offensive line coach Jim Harding said earlier in the day the group has about eight guys he feels comfortable running with, but they still haven’t completely narrowed things down to the starting five. Still up for grabs are the left guard and right tackle jobs, but the guys competing for them are working hard according to Whittingham.

“It’s coming along,” Whittingham said. “It’s a situation where we are looking for someone who can get it done, we’ve got several guys who can get it done. We’re just looking to see who the guy is that takes ownership of the positions.”

Also up for grabs is the backup quarterback position. Since spring Bryson Barnes and Ja’Quinden Jackson have been unrelenting in their efforts to win the job which has been pleasing for the Utah coaches. Whittingham says it’s going to take seeing more reps from them in order to come to a solid conclusion as they have confidence in both players.

“Reps, just more reps,” Whittingham said. “They both had outstanding scrimmages. They are the two guys competing. It’s down to them exclusively for the number-two guy. We’ll have an answer coming out of next scrimmage.”

“He didn’t have a lot of work, but he did a great job,” Whittingham continued talking about Barnes’ performance in the Rose Bowl. “He got in and marched us right down the field so from what we’ve seen and how he does in practice, we have a lot of confidence in him, but JJ is one of the most improved players on the team. He’s made a lot of progress through the summer. Between spring ball and all he’s grown a lot.”

Utah might have the linebacker room all sorted out, but Whittingham said there is no depth chart and most likely won’t be one that will be released until after they take on Florida.

“We won’t have a depth chart, probably not even before the game,” Whittingham said. “We’re just going to go into the game- we’ll know obviously, but there is no reason to announce it. We’ve got about six guys that are really playing well. Mo Diabate is one of them, Karene Reid, Lander Barton, Justin Medlock and two or three other guys who are in the mix for the job.”

Scrimmage Standouts

Most talk and reports coming out of the scrimmage was pretty mellow, but in a good way. The guys you would expect to perform, performed. However, that also doesn’t mean some players didn’t catch Whittingham’s eye either.

 

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“Sataoa Laumea is dominant at guard,” Whittingham said. “Mo Diabate played exceptional, Cole Bishop. Money Parks is really starting to do some big things. That’s been one of the brightest spots of camp is the way he’s stepped up and elevated his game.”

Replacing Britain Covey

One of the more difficult roster decisions facing the 2022 Utah football team is having to replace Britain Covey on special teams. So often you either have the vision and feel for it, or you do not. There isn’t a whole lot of teaching a player how to return. Luckily, Whittingham says there are a few guys that have shown well and could be up to the task.

“We hope so and we’ll find out,” Whittingham said. “Devaughn Vele has taken reps back there. Money Parks is taking reps. Jaylen Dixon, Clark Phillips. We’ve got four or five guys competing. There is not one guy that has kind of said, ‘hey, I’m the guy’ and taken charge, but we do have four or five good options and hope to continue to narrow that down.”

 

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