Jonathan Smith On Preparing For Utah’s Quarterback Situation, Defense

Sep 27, 2023, 10:32 AM | Updated: 11:57 am

SALT LAKE CITY – No. 10 Utah football will be making their way to Corvallis this week to take on the No. 19 Oregon State Beavers and head coach Jonathan Smith provided some thoughts on preparing for the Utes’ quarterback situation and nasty defense.

As has been the case the previous four weeks, there is some uncertainty about who Utah will roll out at quarterback on Friday night. Will starter Cam Rising finally be ready to go? Or will the Utes continue to rely on redshirt freshman backup quarterback Nate Johnson?

Additionally, because Utah’s offense has not been clicking on all cylinders yet, they have relied pretty heavily on their defense which ranks first in the Pac-12 and for good reason.

Jonathan Smith’s Thoughts On Preparing For Both Nate Johnson, Cam Rising

Much like UCLA’s Chip Kelly last week, Smith isn’t so much about preparing for a specific quarterback as he is about preparing for the offensive scheme the Utes run.

“You go off of what they have done in four games on tape,” Smith said. “That guy is a good player- 13 creates and you can see his confidence level getting more and more. He’s athletic to extend the play. Obviously, Cam Rising is there and has a really long history of being a good player and winning games, but we haven’t seen it this year on tape. We are preparing for these four games we’ve seen and then there isn’t going to be a huge adjustment- we’ve seen Rising’s skill set. He can create a whole lot similar to 13.”


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A Battle In The Trenches, Preparing For Utah’s Defense

As of now, Oregon State ranks second in the Pac-12 in rushing offense while Utah’s defense ranks first in stopping the run. Both programs have long taken pride in the ability to start and stop the run game as the foundation of everything else they do in game preparation making this a fun matchup.

Because of this, Smith doesn’t seem too surprised or worried the level of nasty the Utes have brought on defense to this point in the season- it’s just what he expects from them.


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“They do everything well,” Smith said. “These guys are physical at the line of scrimmage. They play the scheme. They don’t give you anything easy. They don’t bust out there. They aren’t giving you free access throws. They are challenging you. They are athletic at linebacker. They have pass rush ability. They don’t have to blitz, but they are going to blitz when they want to. It’s a long history and they are playing dominant defense right now.”

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

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Jonathan Smith On Preparing For Utah’s Quarterback Situation, Defense