UTAH UTES

Kyle Whittingham Says Utes Had Best Practice So Far This Spring

Mar 26, 2024, 7:53 PM | Updated: Mar 27, 2024, 11:11 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham isn’t known for giving out praise willy nilly, so when he says the Utes had their best practice of spring ball, it’s hard to ignore.

Utah’s coach of 20 years was particularly upbeat talking to media after spring practice on March 26, noting the team made some big strides.

From demonstrating familiarity and toughness to actually executing the plays, Whittingham appears happy with where the 2024 crew is at with more practices yet to come.

Today Was A Good Day For Utah Football

Whittingham noted there was a healthy dose of playmaking on both offense and defense. That is an encouraging statement since the Utes do have some talent to replace, particularly in the defensive backfield.

“It was a good day,” Whittingham said. “I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was our best practice of the first seven. You expect that. You hope for that as you go through the progression, clean things up, get better and better with the execution, the assignments- all of that type of stuff. It was an excellent day- a lot of playmakers out there. We had a lot of guys making plays all over the place on both sides of the ball which is a good thing.”

 

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Speaking Of The Utah Defensive Backfield…

Whitt said the Utes already have a pretty good idea of what their defensive backfield could look like because guys have stepped up to fill the empty roles from NFL departures.

Additionally, Whittingham says at the strong safety spot the Utes have a good, three-way battle between Nate Ritchie, Alaka’i Gilman and Jonathan Hall.

“If we were to play right now it would be Zemaiah Vaughn on the outside, Kenan [Johnson] at the other corner with Smith Snowden on the inside at nickel,” Whittingham said. “Then Tao Johnson on the field as a safety, in the second safety spot there is a good battle going on for that right now.”

Utah Football’s Version Of A Swear Word: Injuries (Don’t Panic Too Much)

Unfortunately, football is a contact sport which means injuries are bound to happen.

Whittingham did mention the linebackers and defensive ends are a little thin right now but didn’t seem too concerned it would be anything terribly long-term.

“Decimated right now,” Whitt said. “We lost four linebackers on Saturday. Nothing that is going to impact us long-term, but we had four guys missing today. The silver lining to that is it gave a lot of guys who haven’t been getting any reps a chance to show what they can do.”

“The defensive ends that are out there are doing well,” Whittingham said later of the position group. “We have four or five on the shelf that are not able to get reps, but we think that position should be a very strong suit for us come fall.”

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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Kyle Whittingham Says Utes Had Best Practice So Far This Spring