Scalley, Defense Locking In On Fundamentals, Florida

Aug 16, 2022, 7:03 PM
Morgan Scalley - Utah Utes...
Defensive Back coach Morgan Scalley before the Utah Utes Spring football game on April 13, 2019, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- The Utes have been at the grind for a while, but are focusing on fundamentals while starting to shift their focus incrementally toward their first opponent in the Florida Gators. Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley was on hand after practice on Tuesday to give the lowdown on what exactly Utah and more specifically their defense have been working on.


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Defense Focusing On Fundamentals, Shifting Gears

The Utes are about two and a half weeks out from their first game of the year in Gainesville and Scalley says they are doing everything they can to give their players as much intel into what they will be facing both environment and personnel-wise. While Utah is used to extreme heat, there is a difference between the desert heat they dwell in and the humidity plus heat that Florida deals with. In order to give guys a little taste of what is ahead, the staff have tried to create a hot, humid environment at their indoor practice facility.

“It’s as affective as we can get it,” Scalley said. “It’s like with anything- like with crowd noise that you try to simulate. You try to get it as hot and humid as possible here, but obviously you don’t have the sun beating down on you. That’s the one thing we don’t have, but it’s just understanding what that’s going to do to your breath. What that’s going to do in terms of loosing fluids. You need to hydrate. We are just doing everything we can to simulate what they may expect in Gainesville.”

Scalley says it’s still a little soon for the Utes defense to be turning their complete attention toward Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson and the rest of the Gator squad. Instead, they are taking this week to give their players’ minds a bit of a break and just focus on getting more of the basics down before completely turning toward installation for Florida.

“This week is a continuation of ‘lets improve the fundamentals and technique’,” Scalley said. “Let’s figure out- we’ve thrown a lot at them. Now it’s a matter of, no more installation, now lets watch them run around. Lets focus on the fundamentals and techniques and then next week we will do a little bit more Florida preparation.”

Admittedly, Scalley says Utah faces the challenge of “unknown” with this year’s Gators team. Bill Napier is a first year coach and there has been a fair amount of personnel turnover at Florida as well. Those components don’t leave a ton of film to watch, which means a lot of tracking down where people have been and doing a best guess of what may be coming down the pipeline based off of that.

“The biggest thing is where have they been,” Scalley said. “Where have their coaches been? What kind of influence do they have? We are looking at some ULL film from last year. We’re looking at the personnel that they have this year and kind of trying to figure out with the personnel that they have if they will continue to be a 12 personnel team- is the mix of 12 personnel, 11 personnel still going to be there or are they going to focus 11 personnel? First games are tough, particularly when you have a new staff and we’ve just got to do the best with the homework we have.

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Scalley, Defense Locking In On Fundamentals, Florida