Caleb Williams Is A Playmaker That Utah’s Defense Respects

Nov 30, 2022, 12:27 PM

Utah vs. USC...

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) is sacked by Utah Utes defensive end Gabe Reid (91) as Utah and USC play at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah’s defense will once more be tasked with the challenge of defending USC quarterback Caleb Williams in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday. Williams has proven to be prolific for the Trojans in 2022 and very likely is knocking on the door of a Heisman Trophy. Utah respects what Williams is capable of doing and know it will be another long night simply trying to “do enough” against him and the USC offense.


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Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has been particularly complimentary of Williams’ game noting in his Monday press conference that keeping him contained is particularly challenging because of his strength and ability to break free.

“Getting pressure with four is one thing, keeping him caged in is another,” Whittingham said of defending Williams. “You can get there, but you can’t sack him because he’s so elusive and strong too. He is so strong. So many defenders during the course of the season have dripped right off him because they can’t get him down. It’s not as much a function of how many you are bringing but trying to keep him in a cage and not let him get out on the edge. When he gets out on the edges, he’s dangerous. I mean- he’s dangerous anywhere but particularly dangerous when he escapes outside.”

Caleb Williams According To Ute Defenders

The Reid brothers were asked about Williams and what makes him so special they both echoed Whittingham that his strength is his power.

“He’s just a playmaker at the end of the day,” defensive end Gabe Reid said. “He can make a play with his legs, he’s elusive, he’s hard to bring down. Big, strong body and he can throw the football. I think that combination of things really puts him at the top of that list.”


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Linebacker Karene Reid followed up that Williams is a guy you have to be especially sound technique-wise with in order to give yourself a chance.

“I think, not only is he shifty and mobile, but he’s a strong kid,” Reid said. “Arm tackles are not going to do it. You really have to have great body position to take him down.”

Defending Caleb Williams

Both Gabe and Karene Reid were very clear on Monday that it will take a complete defensive effort on Utah’s part to keep Williams and USC’s offense in check.

“It really needs to be a team effort,” Karene Reid said. “We can’t have the Clark Phillips show or the Cole Bishop show- as much as I want to see them do well, like, everybody is going to have to have a good game. That’s what it’s going to take.”

In the case of Williams specifically, Gabe Reid said the defense is looking to contain him. If the Utes can do that well enough, well, the future starts to look a little Rosey.


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“He’s a playmaker, he’s a big-time talent,” Gabe Reid said. “But we’re looking to contain him and to spoil their fun.”


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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Caleb Williams Is A Playmaker That Utah’s Defense Respects