Utes starting running back job has become a 4-man race


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes keep going through spring practices and a lot of positions are still up for grabs, including the starting running back job. The Utes are still searching for their starting running back and there are no shortage of candidates.

“It will be a four guy competition, between the four guys we’re talking about,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “TJ Pledger, Chris Curry, Micah Bernard who are here with us now and Ricky Parks who will be added in the summer.”

Two of those players, Chris Curry and TJ Pledger came to the Utes through the transfer portal, both from Power-5 conferences. Curry transferred to Utah from LSU, and he brings championship experience. “

Physicality, toughness, the swagger, we played with a lot of swagger and I feel like we can bring that to the University of Utah,” said Curry.

Pledger transferred from the University of Oklahoma and he’s looking forward to the opportunity to compete.

“Just being able to look at the opportunity and understand the position I’m walking into and aiming to take advantage of that,” said Pledger.

Coach Whittingham knows the success of former Utah running backs and is hoping to build on that success. That includes last year’s leading rusher, Ty Jordan, who was tragically killed in an accidental shooting accident in December.

“Our track record and the past history of running backs has been pretty good here as far as production,” said Whittingham.

Running back coach Kiel McDonald echo’s coach Whittingham’s statements.

“We have a great tradition here at the running back position,” McDonald said. “This is a run first team, there’s no secret about that. We run to win and that’s just kind of a philosophy. We’re going to come out here and run the rock and the best player will get it.”

The Utes probably won’t make a decision on a starter until the fall, which means a long competition.

“We identify guys that can play for the U and we’re going to go and compete,” said McDonald. “You can’t be scared of competition, you can’t because if you’re scared of competition this is not the place for you.”

Micah Bernard could have transfer out after the other backs transferred in, but he decided to stay and compete.

“We produce here so, it was just all that I took into consideration like why would I leave,” said Bernard. “It was no reason for me to do any of that.”

“They were looking for a place where they could come in and compete right now. I’m all about competition,” said McDonald. “The best player will play, the best player will win, that player will start.”

Utah will wrap up spring football with the red white game on April 17th.

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