BYE Week Checklist: What Utah Football Needs To Accomplish During Break

Oct 2, 2023, 10:27 AM | Updated: 1:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – To say Friday’s game against Oregon State was disappointing would be an understatement. Thankfully, Utah football has a BYE week to go through a checklist of things that need improving before jumping back into a very intense schedule.

Before we get into all of that though, it’s also important to remember the positives too. This team is 4-1 after playing four Power Five teams and missing around 15-16 key players. Anyone in their right mind would sign up for that all day, every day. They may not have been the prettiest games, but the Utes found a way to get it done. That toughness will serve them well moving forward.

With that said, there are a lot of things Utah needs to clean up and address as best they can during their BYE week break in order to have a shot of competing for a third straight Pac-12 Title.

BYE Week Item No. 1: Get As Healthy As Possible

This is by far and away the most important thing the Utes can try to accomplish over the next two weeks before they host Cal.

Get rested.

Hit whatever rehab you have hard.

Treatment, treatment, treatment.

More rest.

It’s no secret, Utah football has gone into the season looking like the walking wounded. Thankfully, it seems like most of these injuries are nagging or lingering things that can mostly be handled with some time off.

Unfortunately, while not confirmed yet, it also appears Utah football may have sustained a few more season-ending injuries in Friday’s game.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham seemed pretty concerned in his post-game comments about the status of quarterback Bryson Barnes, running back Charlie Vincent, and defensive end Logan Fano. All three of those position groups are already running a bit thin so with any luck, the Utes can get a few guys back during the BYE that should help mitigate those concerns.

BYE Week Item No. 2: Contingency Plans To Succeed With Who Is Available

While it sounds like Utah is close to getting some guys back that could really elevate the Utes’ play- particularly on offense, it’s also important to come up with plans to win with who is available.

I know, I know, I pointed out earlier that Utah is 4-1 and people should be happy about that (they really should), but that also doesn’t mean there can’t be improvements made in how the available talent is used to get those wins.

Utah’s offense has been bland and unimaginative. I say that knowing full well Utah is missing their top guys at quarterback, running back, center, tight end, with a few receivers out as well. That makes game planning really difficult, but I also believe there are ways the coaches could probably set the guys that are having to play up for better success.

That needs to be a priority this week while continuing to hope you get some players back that will help take the stress off the young guys and defense.

BYE Week Item No. 3: Team Building, Finding The Fun In Football Again

The last item the Utes should really zero in on is team building and working to find the fun in football again.

For the record, considering all of the lemons Utah football has been handed very early this season, I think they’ve done a pretty good job of making lemonade, but that also doesn’t mean they can’t do a check-in to make sure everyone is still on the same page. In fact, I think that is a very important thing they can do with no game to plan for this week.

Round up team leadership and come up with some activities that bring everyone together for some fun that has nothing to do with football. Have candid conversations between the players and coaches about what has gone well and what could go better moving forward.

As the games went along for the Utes, you could see them becoming more work for players and coaches and less fun. Utah needs to use this time to get out of “grind” mode and find ways to enjoy playing the game again, even with less-than-ideal circumstances to navigate.

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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BYE Week Checklist: What Utah Football Needs To Accomplish During Break