Utes Wrap Up Fall Camp, Turn Attention To Florida
Aug 22, 2022, 9:27 AM
(Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY- Fall camp is over for the Utes and now their full attention is being turned to their big season opener against Florida. “Camp Kyle” was a rather quiet affair in 2022, with most media taking a “no news is good news” approach to reporting since no practices or scrimmages were viewed. Despite not seeing any live action, there are a few things that can be taken away about the Utes from media availability.
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What We Learned In Fall Camp
- Cam Rising is feeling good and looking better. Make no mistake. Rising was brilliant for Utah last year posting 2,493 yards from 204 of 320 passing attempts, 499 rushing yards off 74 attempts, 20 passing touchdowns, six rushing touchdowns and only five interceptions. However, he was doing this while not fully 100% from a shoulder surgery he had the year before. It’s hard to believe that Rising could be better than he was in 2021, but coaches, fellow teammates, outside talent evaluators, and Rising himself have all reported his throwing ability has never been better.
- They have depth. We all know how deep Utah runs at running back, tight end, and linebacker these days, but their depth goes further than that. It’s hard to recall how long it’s been since Kyle Whittingham and crew have felt so good about almost every spot on the team. The very few position battles Utah had weren’t really due to being unsure of who could step into spots, but more about having several athletes that performed well and needing to decide who was the best of all. There has also been a lot of talk from several coaches including cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah, offensive line coach Jim Harding, and defensive tackles coach Luther Elliss about having enough guys they feel confident in that they will be rotating players out to keep guys fresh.
- Receivers might finally be a factor. This one is maybe more of a “wait and see” kind of deal since we’ve heard several times before that Utah’s receiving corps “looks better” and then not much comes of it, but this time does feel a little different. There is some confidence behind the words that hasn’t been there before. The coaches aren’t “hoping” guys step up, they are saying guys have stepped up. Devaughn Vele, Solomon Enis, and Money Parks constantly got praise for how they practiced from Whittingham and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig through camp. Will we see what they’ve talked about? We’ll find out in just over a week in Gainesville how for-real this is.
- The coordinators REALLY like their new guys. Ask Morgan Scalley about safety Clayton Isbell or linebacker Mohamoud Diabate and yes, he says what you hope he will say, but is goes further than that. His face absolutely lights up at the mention of those two. Same with offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig (who is much more even-keeled than Scalley) and guys like receivers Tao Johnson and Sydney Mbanasor. It’s hard to say how much the freshman receivers will play in 2022, but it’s clear Ludwig likes what he’s seen from them early. Defensively it feels pretty safe to assume Scalley’s transfers will be a big factor this season and he’s excited about what they bring to an already very solid defensive unit.
- Quietly confident. This one is harder to explain, but it doesn’t make it any less real. Utah is very confident, not in a “counting their chickens before they hatch” kind of way, but in a “we understand the assignment and have controlled everything we can control to be prepared” kind of way. The Utes know they are a good team, they know they have a huge opportunity ahead of them, and they have been battle-tested in ways no other team in the country can claim. The coaches and players know if they could make it through what they went through last season with the deaths of two teammates just nine months apart and still have a great season, they can at the very least do it again under less distress, but with a bigger target on their back.
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