SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It was quite a relief when the Utes found out there would indeed be a fall football season.
“It was a great feeling knowing that, us being here knowing we didn’t have any games didn’t give us much motivation,” said tight end Brant Kuithe. “But I think a lot of us guys that kind of felt down got our energy back up and we’re ready to go.”
“Obviously everyone was ecstatic when we found out that we were going to be able to play,” added linebacker Devin Lloyd. “Only seven games, some other conferences get ten games. But at the end of the day, seven is better than nothing.”
The Utes will begin training camp on October 9th, and will find out its 7-game Pac-12 schedule on Saturday.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “We’ll be elated if we get all seven games in.”
The Utes have already be lifting weights and watching film, so Whittingham says four weeks of training camp should be enough to get ready for the season.
“I think so, particularly with the fact that we’ve had several months where we’ve been able to get some things done on the field,” Whittingham said. “We haven’t been in any contact situations or anything like that. But at least we’ve been on the field. I’m confident that our guys will be adequately prepared.”
Most importantly, the Utes have had very minimal trouble dealing with COVID, saying very few players have tested positive for the virus.
“It hasn’t been really hard,” Kuithe said. “Just doing what the team doctors are saying, socially distancing, wear a mask and just doing the things we really need to do. It kind of helps that classes are mostly online, so we’re not really having to interact with a lot of people or go on campus.”
“Our medical staff has done as good a job as can possibly have been done getting all the protocols put in place,” said Whittingham. “I think we’re probably one of the better schools in the country as far as the positive tests for COVID have been way down. I think we’ve done an outstanding job with that.”
Kyle Whittingham has a lot decisions to make, most notably at quarterback, where Cam Rising and Jake Bentley are the favorites to win the starting job.
“Sooner rather than later, obviously,” Whittingham said, when he was asked when he was going to name a starter. “The sooner it happens, the more ideal as far as naming a guy and letting him get all the reps with the ones. But more importantly than that is getting the right guy named.”
“They look great,” Kuithe said of the quarterbacks. “Jake is moving the best I’ve seen him move. Cam is just doing well. It’s just going to be a battle of who starts at the end of the day.”
The Utes also have to replace all-time leading rusher Zack Moss, as well as no less than nine starters on defense.
“For us, it’s not a matter of losing guys, it’s just a matter of re-loading,” said Lloyd, one of the returning starters for the Utes. “We have a lot of talent in the secondary. We’ve got a lot of guys who have played in the front seven. We have guys all over who have playing experience.”