Utah Football Fully Embracing ‘Next Man Up’ Mentality

Sep 21, 2023, 10:26 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football has been tested early and often so far in the 2023 football season and it hasn’t phased them one bit citing their “next man up” mentality.

The Utes have had to play the likes of Florida and Baylor without key players with head coach Kyle Whittingham noting as many as 15-16 players weren’t available against Weber State. All three games were wins.

For the young guys and backups getting those valuable game reps, there has been an immense sense of pride in their ability to carry the load in the starter’s absence against quality opponents.

Next Man Up Utes

Utah running back Jaylon Glover saw his role on the team grow exponentially after an accident put Micah Bernard out of commission for the Utes the rest of the year after the Florida game.

It’s a role the sophomore from Florida is very prideful of.

“We just have a resilient crew,” Glover said. “When you talk about depth from us- it’s almost having 30-40% of our team down right now means a lot. Utah does a great job in recruiting and doing a great job keeping us ready to go. The ‘next man up’ mentality- I know y’all probably get tired of hearing it, but that is really how it is here. When you talk about coming together strong like this in the beginning of the season going 1-0 every week. As we continue to go and get everyone back, I think we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Nate Johnson, Come On Down

Redshirt freshman quarterback Nate Johnson is another guy who has been called upon to help lead the Utes until starter and captain Cam Rising is cleared from an ACL tear he sustained in January.

Johnson was a key player for the Utes last season when Rising’s running ability was slowed up at the end of the year and has watched his role grow into being named the backup after some fourth quarter heroics against Baylor.

The talented dual-threat quarterback got his first start last week against Weber State and did a nice job for Utah. There is hope/rumors swirling that Rising may be back this week to start conference play, but Johnson is determined to make sure he’s prepared either way.

“Really, it’s just ‘next man up’ mentality still with Cam being down,” Johnson said. “It’s still ‘next man up’ mentality. I don’t know if it’s me, it’s Bryson, it’s Cam- you know, again, it’s just ‘next man up’ mentality’.”

Utah’s Defense Has Been Battle Tested Too

The Utah defense has been very dominant in the first three games only allowing 31 points which averages to about 10.3 points per game, making it easy to forget they’ve been missing guys too. Specifically, across the defensive line.

Junior defensive end Jonah Elliss is a little older than some of the other Utes who have been called into action but understands the importance of having no drop-off in his deep position group. So far, Elliss is tied for the team lead in sacks with two while also posting nine tackles on the season as Utah waits for Connor O’Toole to get back into the mix.

“It means so much,” Elliss said. “You see that our second and third string guys come in and can all play and compete with the other team’s starters. The amount of depth that we have, and, just like, all of them being able to step up and cover for Junior, cover for Pep, cover for all of our guys that are down is awesome. It’s really good to see. We have a lot of depth on our team.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for 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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @kslsports

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

College Football


Michelle Bodkin

Exclusive: Quarterback Nate Johnson Details His Decision To Leave Utah Football

Former Utah Utes quarterback Nate Johnson gave details Wednesday afternoon on his decision to leave Utah football last week.

1 hour ago

BYU Football, Tyler Batty, All-Big 12...

Mitch Harper

Ten BYU Football Players Receive All-Big 12 Recognition

BYU had some individual honors given to their team in the All-Big 12 honors.

4 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Athletics Reacts To Salt Lake City Being ‘Preferred Host’ For 2034 Olympics

The 2034 Winter Olympics are likely to coming to SLC after the IOC announced it was the "preferred host" and Utah Athletics is excited.

5 hours ago


Kyle Ireland

Week 13: Top Plays From BYU, Utah, Utah State

The college football regular season is officially over and the BYU Cougars, Utah Utes, and Utah State Aggies made big plays during Week 13.

7 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

Levani Damuni Announces One More Year In 2024 With Utah

Levani Damuni announced his intention to play one more season for the Utes in 2024 with a post to X late Tuesday night.

9 hours ago

Kedon Slovis, BYU Football...

Mitch Harper

Kedon Slovis Sends Farewell Message To BYU Football

Slovis said his goodbyes to the BYU football program.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

Utah Football Fully Embracing ‘Next Man Up’ Mentality