Utah’s Defense Continuing To Move In a Positive Direction
SALT LAKE CITY- Utah’s defense has steadily moved in a positive direction since the start of the 2022 football season and they still have room to grow. Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley noted his unit has gotten better at tackling and creating pressure but still has things to cleanup as the Utes’ date at Oregon gets ever closer.
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“We’ve become a better tackling team,” Scalley said. “We’ve done much better creating some pressure, getting some pressure on the quarterback and taking the ball away. We still have given up a little bit too many explosive plays for my liking but that’s on us as coaches.”
It’s A Fun Group To Coach
While Utah’s defense still has things it can improve upon and maybe didn’t start as strongly as expected, Scalley says they have been a good group to work with. They don’t complain and are hungry to learn and improve.
“These guys- it’s a fun group to coach,” Scalley said of Utah’s defense. “They don’t complain. They do whatever you ask them to, and you can see the progress every single week. We’ve got very good coaches as well in the staff. I’m lucky there as well.”
The defensive line and particularly the defensive ends received a lot of criticism at the start of the year but have appeared to settle into their roles the past few games. Unfortunately, the group will have to move along without Van Fillinger who was lost for the remainder of the season with an injury, but Scalley likes what he’s seen from the group as a whole with or without him.
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“I think they played well, again, have got to limit the big plays- particularly in the run game,” Scalley said. “That’s where Van was just so dominate and he’s also become such a good pass rusher. We’ve seen the tools that our down-the-line defensive ends have and now the rest of the country gets to see it. We’re excited for these guys, and they showed up and did a nice job on Saturday and now we have to continue that.”
Focusing On Stanford
Before the Utes fully turn their attention to Oregon on November 19, they have to take care of business at home against Stanford. While the Cardinal are a long way from their glory days with Jim Harbaugh, they still have talent that can get you if you don’t come in prepared. Just ask Notre Dame.
“Their wide receiving corps is really good,” Scalley said. “People that watch that offense- they’ve struggled a bit and we get that, but they have some fire power at the wide receiver position, the quarterback has an NFL arm. The offensive line is solid, so, anyone can beat anyone in this league and that’s been proven every single week.”
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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