COLLEGE FOOTBALL

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 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 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

Bronco Mendenhall, New Mexico, Former BYU Coach...

Mitch Harper

Former BYU Coach Bronco Mendenhall Excited For Next Journey At New Mexico

The former headman at BYU is back in the Mountain West Conference.

17 hours ago

nate dreiling utah state...

Brian Preece

Utah State Football Interim Head Coach Nate Dreiling Focused On Moving Forward After ‘Whirlwind’ Past Two Weeks

It may not be how he wanted to become a head coach, but Utah State interim head coach Nate Dreiling has the keys to the car

20 hours ago

Big 12 Conference Commissioner Brett Yormark Media Days...

Chandler Holt

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark Says Conference Is In Great Spot With Utah, BYU

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark has big hopes for the conference's newest rivalry between the BYU Cougars and Utah Utes.

22 hours ago

How To Watch Utah Football...

Brian Preece

60 In 60: No. 36 Utah’s Landen King (Tight End)

The countdown is on for Hans & Scotty’s 60 in 60 for the 2024 college football season. Landing at No. 36 is Utah tight end Landen King.

22 hours ago

mountain west football trophy...

Brian Preece

Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez Embracing Change In College Athletics

Mountain West Conference Commissioner Gloria Nevarez is ready to lead the charge into the next era of Mountain West athletics.

23 hours ago

BYU Football, Ben Bywater, Injury Update...

Mitch Harper

Kalani Sitake Provides Injury Update On BYU LB Ben Bywater

Linebacker Ben Bywater is working his way back from an injury he suffered last season.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

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.

...

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.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

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.

Utah Football Fully Embracing ‘Next Man Up’ Mentality