Utah Backup Quarterback Bryson Barnes Has Respect Of Teammates, Coaches

Nov 1, 2022, 9:51 AM | Updated: 9:52 am
Utes quarterback Bryson Barnes (16) and offensive lineman Johnny Maea (53) get ready for the game against UCLA at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah’s backup quarterback Bryson Barnes was put into a difficult situation last Thursday according to head coach Kyle Whittingham when starter Cam Rising took himself out of the Utes’ game against Washington State just minutes before kickoff. Barnes for his part, has never leaned into how difficult it is to not know you are starting until the 12th hour, instead simply insisting it’s all about being prepared like you are starting every week. It’s that attitude that has earned him trust and respect from both his teammates and coaches.

“You have to prepare the exact same way regardless of if you are going in or not,” Barnes said after Monday’s practice. “You’ve just got to prepare the same way and don’t take anything lightly.”

Jaylon Glover, Jim Harding On Bryson Barnes

So, what is it about Bryson Barnes that is so special as a QB2? His background growing up in a small town in Utah- Milford doesn’t hurt, or the fact that he’s raised over 12,000 pigs before becoming a quarterback for the University of Utah football team. Watching Barnes step in seamlessly for Rising in the Rose Bowl and delivering a beautiful game-tying touchdown pass to tight end Dalton Kincaid against Ohio State only added to his legend.

If you ask offensive line coach Jim Harding about what it is about Barnes that resonates with everyone at Utah football, he can list off a bunch of things from his aggressive, no-fear style of play to simply doing the work every day to be ready.

“I think he- almost to a fault, is a little too aggressive when he runs,” Harding said of Bryson Barnes. “I think coach Lud referred to him as a linebacker as opposed to a quarterback. I think his competitiveness. I think he has the belief in the locker room. I think our kids have a lot of confidence in Bryson and he goes about his business as a pro. Those are things that whether it’s my guy, or the perimeter guys- if Cam can’t go, we’re completely confident with Bryson as well.”

Freshman running back Jaylon Glover has nothing but love for his QB2 noting that Barnes is very intelligent and intentional with the plays he chooses to run based off of what the defense is giving him.

“He’s accurate,” Glover said. “Bryson is going to make the right decisions, he’s going to make most of the right reads. Bryson is very intelligent, and I think with him being on the field more, you can see how smart he really is.”

It Takes Great Leadership To Raise A QB2

Whether you were watching Utah’s game against Washington State last Thursday from the comfort of your home or live in Pullman, one thing was very clear- Barnes has unlimited support from Cam Rising and the rest of the team. Glover indicated the chemistry that was on display on the sidelines against the Cougars should come to no surprise to anyone- Utah simply has good leadership.

“We are surrounded by great people,” Glover said. “You have Cam Rising being one of the top quarterbacks in the nation and cheering his backup on- it’s always great to see. That comradery within the team- there is nothing better than that.”

For as much love as Rising and the rest of the sideline showed for Barnes, he has it right back for them.

“Cam was super supportive every time I came off the field,” Barnes said. “He was telling me whatever plays I was running and telling me what he was seeing, but we’d talk through it. It’s kind of the same type of deal when I’m signaling plays. If I see something he might not be seeing- it’s just kind of that relationship. Obviously, having a guy who has been there, done that, veteran player on the sideline giving you input, it definitely goes a long way.”

“You couldn’t ask for a better guy to be under to be completely honest with you,” Barnes continued of his relationship with Rising. “The dude is just a leader, he does things right, he’s a great player, and just a great person overall. I couldn’t ask for a better guy to be above me right now learning from.”


Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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