Kyle Whittingham: Bryson Barnes Came Into A Very Tough Situation

Oct 28, 2022, 3:13 AM | Updated: 2:33 pm

Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes shows a look of concern against the Oregon Ducks durin...

Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes shows a look of concern against the Oregon Ducks during the first half of the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi's Stadium on December 06, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

PULLMAN, Washington – No. 14 Utah made it out of Pullman alive, 21-17, but they limped their way through the game.

Everyone was pretty sure ahead of time that running back Tavion Thomas would not be playing, but there was an absence on the field that was pretty jarring. Quarterback Cam Rising may have been dressed for the game and going through warmups, but his backup Bryson Barnes got the nod. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham explained the situation in his post-game press conference, noting Barnes came into a very tough situation and did well.

From Pig Farmer To Utah Football Hero

Most people were introduced to Bryson Barnes in Utah’s first Rose Bowl appearance where he finished out the game after Rising was knocked out with a concussion. With the game on the line, Barnes delivered a beautiful corner pass to tight end Dalton Kincaid to give the Utes a chance against Ohio State. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be that day and despite Barnes’ valiant effort, Utah would fall to the Buckeyes 48-45.

The loss didn’t stop Barnes from becoming a bit of a sensation though. Especially when people browsed his bio and found out Barnes comes from Milford, Utah and has raised around 12,000 pigs on his family’s farm.

Round two went much better for Barnes against Washington State Thursday night. From the sounds of it- according to Whittingham, Barnes’ start was every bit as dramatic as his Rose Bowl appearance too as Rising determined himself, he wasn’t ready to go.

“He just didn’t feel like he was right,” Whittingham said of Rising. “It was Cam’s decision.”

Rising did practice all week for the game which is why Whittingham made sure to note the tough position Barnes was in getting the last-minute nod he would be leading the offense against Washington State.

“He was not expecting to be the starter until a half hour before the game,” Whittingham said. “Very difficult, like I said, that’s why he performed very admirably under those conditions in those circumstances. That’s the nature of the number two quarterback- you’re only one snap away the entire game from getting into the football game so that’s the mindset you’ve got to have. You’ve got to be ready whenever your number is called and go out, perform, and get the job done.”

Barnes didn’t put up huge numbers against Washington State, but he was efficient and protected the football all night long. Especially when you consider he was given 30 minutes notice he would be starting. Barnes finished the night 17-27 for 175 yards and one touchdown while also adding 51 yards off eight carries with his legs.

“Obviously, I knew what was at stake,” Barnes said after the game. “You just have to be prepared, treat every game the exact same. Especially right now, we’ve got to keep things rolling. Especially with new guys coming in- new faces on the field. We just have to keep the ball rolling and keep getting these wins.”

RELATED NEWS: Taking Inventory Of Utah Football Injuries From Washington State


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Kyle Whittingham: Bryson Barnes Came Into A Very Tough Situation