UTAH UTES

Spring Ball Review: How Utah Football Fared According To Andy Ludwig, Morgan Scalley

May 2, 2024, 3:24 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utes wrapped up a very productive spring ball that has fans antsy for the start of the 2024 football season.

All of the promise is there, and opportunities feel plentiful for an overall very experienced group heading into a new conference in the Big 12.

Unfortunately, there are a few months left till we can see it all come together for the Utes on the field, but for now we can go back and review the team in anticipation.

 

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Today’s focus is on the team as a whole from the perspectives of offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, and defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley.

Andy Ludwig’s Thoughts On Utah’s Offense After Spring Ball

Having so much returning talent on offense, including guys like quarterback Cam Rising, tight end Brant Kuithe, and running back Micah Bernard proved to be beneficial to how quickly Ludwig was able to get the group up to speed.

“I feel like it’s been a very productive spring,” offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said. “I always approach spring- you want to be very productive in the spring to put yourself in the position for a good summer which should equate to a great fall. I feel like we’ve shown improvement in each practice, identified skill sets and player’s abilities through the course of spring. They’ve done a nice job acclimating themselves to what we’ve got going and I’m very confident with where we are going right now.”

 

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As for how Ludwig sees using the NCAA Transfer Portal to better the Utes’ offensive situation further? At this point he says they are just looking for players.

“Anybody that has an opportunity to make an impact for the Utes right now,” Ludwig said. “We aren’t really concerned about recruiting for depth out of the portal right now, but an impact player would be worth an evaluation.”

As for some of the players who made the biggest jumps in their development this spring, Ludwig can think of a few that fans should be excited about.

 

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“The first player that comes to mind is Daidren Zipperer,” Ludwig said. “There is a guy that has stepped up and made plays on the perimeter for us at the wide receiver spot. Dijon Stanley has really expanded his role. We put him in last year and it was just free release- you’re running this route. We didn’t really ask him to do much more, but he’s expanded his capacity for a workload. Caleb Lomu stepped up and is getting all the starting reps right now at the left tackle spot. Spencer Fano continues his growth and development moving over to right tackle.”

Morgan Scalley’s Thoughts On Utah’s Defense After Spring Ball

Defensively it felt like heading into spring there were more questions to answer than offensively largely due to NFL departures. The good news for the Utes is it feels like defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley got the answers he needed during spring practices.

“The secondary we feel much better coming out of spring,” Scalley said. “The front seven- we are definitely excited about. Love the progress coach Elliss has made with those d-tackles. That’s a good group right there. Losing Jonah Elliss is a big one, but you look at the depth we have and what coach Powell has been able to do with the defensive ends. We really feel good about that group. Obviously, the linebackers had the hit with Levani, but you do get Fotu and Trey Reynolds. I don’t feel one bit we are down at the linebacker position.”

While Scalley is very happy with where Utah’s defense is at after spring, he is a “details” guy and would like to see the safeties and linebackers specifically take steps forward in that regard over the summer.

“I never sit satisfied,” Scalley said. “I think football intelligence. The linebacker and safety position you really have to not just know your assignment. You’ve got to know everyone’s assignment. You’ve got to make people right; you’ve got to communicate the right things. You’re speaking every single play and that communication plus understanding what an offense is trying to do to you- I think schematically, assignment-wise we’re there. It’s now, what is an offense trying to do to me? How can I take advantage of what an offense is trying to do to me?”

One goal for the Utah defense this spring was to practice being more advantageous taking the ball away. Once again, Scalley seems pleased with the growth the whole unit showed in that regard.

“No question,” Scalley said. “We had twice as many takeaways this spring compared to last spring. That’s not a knock on the offense. That’s us being opportunistic and the focus on taking the ball away. Very pleased with how that went.”

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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Spring Ball Review: How Utah Football Fared According To Andy Ludwig, Morgan Scalley