SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Entering the fourth week of training camp, how is Utes starting quarterback Cam Rising doing as he continues to recover from off-season ACL surgery?
“He’s progressing,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He’s progressing through practice.”
That’s all we’re getting for now. Whittingham probably won’t make it public when he does decide on who will start against Florida in ten days, but he hopes to have a decision on the starter sooner than later.
“Probably next week,” Whittingham said. “We’ll just see. It’s a day by day thing right now, and that’s as good as I can tell you.”
So, is there a cutoff time to decide if Rising is healthy enough to start against the Gators?
“Yeah, there would be a cutoff date,” Whittingham said. “Probably ten minutes before kickoff. If he’s not ready to go, then we’ll go with Plan B.”
As for Plan B, the battle for the backup quarterback job, with Brandon Rose out with an undisclosed injury, it is now neck and neck between Bryson Barnes and Nate Johnson.
“I can tell you for the two-spot, Bryson Barnes and Nate are on equal footing right now,” Whittingham said. “Nate has closed the gap, and they’re exactly in a dead heat at this point.”
Barnes has more game experience than Johnson, having started and beat Washington State last year, as well as playing in both Rose Bowls. Johnson has thrown just one college pass, and it resulted in a touchdown against Stanford. Johnson also rushed for two touchdowns against Arizona.
The team has noticed improvement in both Barnes and Johnson.
“Just from more of a confidence standpoint, being that vocal leader ” said wide receiver DeVaughn Vele. “Obviously as the quarterback, you’ve got to be the one that knows everybody’s jobs and positions. You have to be the one to lead us on the field, and when times are getting tough, you’ve got to be the one to pick us up. I see on social media all the time that everybody is talking about the quarterback situation. It’s not my say. Whoever is back there on Thursday night, we’re going to go with that guy and we’re going to trust him.”
There is somewhat of an advantage to all the uncertainty at quarterback, in that Florida doesn’t know which player to prepare for.
“Obviously, we’re keeping some things somewhat close to the vest just because,” Whittingham said. “But I don’t know in the final analysis if it’s a big deal or not. But we’re truly unsettled right now, so there’s really no deception at this point. It’s just we’ll see how things progress day by day.”
We will all get our answer August 31st at Rice-Eccles Stadium.