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Football Is Back, Fall Camp To Start Oct. 9

Oct 1, 2020

Full Press Conference (Video)

SALT LAKE CITY – Football is officially back in Salt Lake City as the University of Utah football program is set to start fall camp on Friday, Oct. 9.

The Pac-12 announced last week that a conference-only seven game schedule will begin on Nov. 6 with the Pac-12 Championship game taking place on Dec. 18. The full football schedule will be announced in the coming days.

With the NCAA and Pac-12 rules regarding practice hours, and while adhering to state and county health guidelines, the Utes have been hard at work this summer and early fall. Whether it is getting it done in the weight room, the classroom, or out on the field for non-contact activities, the Utah football program is prepared and ready for this season.  

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Meeting with the Media:
Head coach Kyle Whittingham, junior linebacker Devin Lloyd, junior tight end Brant Kuithe

Whittingham on when he plans to make a decision on who will start at quarterback…
"The sooner it happens the more ideal for us as far as naming a guy and letting him get all of the reps with the first team, but more important than that, is getting the right guy named. So, it is going to be a three-man race going in and then we have to quickly narrow that down to two, and when I say quickly I'm hoping within a week. After that, narrow it down to one and have a pecking order so that we can divvy up the reps accordingly. Going in it is going to be Drew Lisk, Cameron Rising and Jake Bentley with all three on equal ground and will have the same amount of reps until we can get it to two. When we get it to one, we will give the majority of the reps to that person."

Whittingham on how they will handle live hitting and scrimmaging during fall camp…
"That is something we haven't gotten to do in almost a year. First of all, as per NCAA rules, we won't be able to do any hitting in the first few days of camp, those are non-contact practices. The following week we get to put the shoulder pads on and then that fifth day we go full gear, so we have to be smart about how we do it. You don't want to go into the season under prepared. There is a sweet spot that we are going to hit that is no different this year than any other year, other than that it has been an extended amount of time that we haven't had contact. We will monitor that closely. We feel like we need to get at least two full scrimmages in prior to playing our first ball game, probably occurring on Saturdays. Along with that, throughout camp there will be some live sessions dispersed in practices, so the scrimmages won't be the only live work we have. So we don't want to overdo it, but you have to make sure you are ready. If you go into a game not ready to play from a physical standpoint, that's not a good thing."

Whittingham on what the last week has been like with the announcement of football returning and trying to get ready for camp…
"It has been business as usual. We are excited that we have some direction, and we will have a little more clarity on Saturday when they release the schedule and we find out exactly who we are playing and what order, but we've been going at it for several months now. We gave the players about four days off this week to rejuvenate themselves. There is a fine line there with diminishing returns when you work too hard, too long, so we feel like they will be coming back and ready to get back out on the field tomorrow. So we will go tomorrow and Saturday, and then a couple of days next week leading into fall camp. Once fall camp starts it becomes pretty regular when they are on the field every day. We are excited to get going and our coaches are excited."

Whittingham on if his objectives heading into fall…
"We have the same objectives that we had this spring as far as the top priority being getting a quarterback named. A close second is the secondary – we have five brand new guys back there in terms of the guys that are going to be playing. We lost the entire secondary from last season, so that is a complete rebuild and a critical aspect of your defensive structure. We also have a lot of positive things for us. We feel our offensive line is going to be as deep and as talented as it ever has been with our wide receivers and tight ends as well. We also have to get a running back named. We have three or four candidates to be the lead running back. The defensive line, we have some guys to replace but we also have some really good guys in the program rising up through the ranks and we have a pretty good idea of who those replacements are going to be. Then at linebacker, we have to find someone to play alongside Devin Lloyd because we lost Francis Bernard, who was so effective for us last year. So, we have a whole laundry list of things we have to get accomplished with the headliners being the quarterback and the secondary in my opinion."

Whittingham on the uncertainties of 2020 and how that changed his job…
"It has been very challenging because it is all uncharted territory. None of us have ever been through anything like this, not even remotely. How you structure the time that you are allotted and what you do with that time is important. Recruiting is also different. Usually we are immersed in official visits, unofficial visits, going out and getting on the road a little bit. So much has changed in that world as well and we have had to change and adapt just like everyone else. The vast majority of recruiting is on Zoom now and with phone calls. I feel bad for the recruits, the seniors, because a lot of these guys won't get the chance to see any campuses and they will have to make their decisions based on a Zoom tour and won't have the chance to get coaches in front of them face-to-face. So, it is unfortunate for this class coming up that they are going to have to make probably one of the most important decisions of their lives up to this point without setting foot on the campus or meeting the coach face-to-face. Things are the way they are though, and we just proceed and make the best of it."

Whittingham on the players being able to access the weight room and if he feels they are further along physically…
"Yes we are. We have been in the weight room making exceptional gains in there. We test our guys through every cycle, we have 6-7 week cycles that the strength coaches have set up and I want to say it was like 90-percent or more of our guys hit personal records in the lifts that we tested. So, we have made significant gains in the weight room. So if there are some positives to come out of this, the opportunity that we have never had before, to put two lifting cycles together and continue to build on that where typically we would have shifted into an in-season maintenance type routine."

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"Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today." #MotivationMonday

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Lloyd on his involvement in the fight for social injustices…
"I think my team and myself have tried to use our platform and our voices for the better good. We want to get out and speak on how we feel. Whether it has to do with equality, racism, police brutality, just anything, we feel that now is the time for our voices to be heard as student-athletes and use our platform for what is right. We got together as a group and it is a mutual thing between everyone on the team. We wanted to get out and make a stand. We planned a march at the state capitol and it was a way to get out there, as opposed to just putting things on social media. We wanted to take action. It was our way of exercising our voices and just do the right thing as student-athletes."

Lloyd on finding out the season was happening last week…
"It was obviously exciting. All of the uncertainty in the last few months had gotten everyone anxious to get out and play and do what we love to do. Everyone is here because we love the game of football and we want to play. Everyone was ecstatic. We are blessed for the opportunity and looking forward to those games."

Lloyd on his number change to 0…
"I just wanted to switch it up, no particular reason. Toward the end of last season I knew I wanted to switch it up. Nothing wrong with 20, I was just ready for a new feel, like a new player."

Lloyd on the young defense this year…
"For us, it isn't a matter of losing guys, it is just about reloading. We have a ton of talent in the secondary, we have a lot of guys that have played in the front seven. Yes, we only have two returning starters from last year, but at the same time, we have a lot of talent and a lot of guys that are hungry. I don't see why we couldn't do exactly what we did last year, but just finish it this time. We have the players, we have the coaches, it is just about executing it at the end of the day."

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Kuithe on how the quarterbacks look…
"They look great. Jake is moving the best I've seen him move and Cam is doing well. It is going to be a battle to see who starts, but I think it is going to be a good thing."

Kuithe on what he's looking forward to doing on the field this year…
"Overall I just want to get better at a lot of aspects blocking-wise because at the beginning of last season I didn't start off well. I just want to improve blocking and then my overall mechanics – route running and catching the ball because I had a few drops last year. I just want to get more involved in the offense a bit more and see what I can do."

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The 2020 @athlonsports Preseason All-Pac-12 Team. #UBoyz

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Kuithe on how he expects the offense to be difference from last year's…
"I don't expect it to be a lot different. We don't have Zack Moss, but we still have a lot of really good running backs, so I don't think it is going to be much different. We are going to have the same scheme and we have a lot of guys coming back, so I don't expect it to change much."

Kuithe on how much film he watched during this time…
"Just getting in the film room as much as possible, learning different schemes, and learning how we can get an advantage over somebody else. I've been watching college football and the NFL since we haven't been playing and I've been trying to watch different schemes and different players, see what works, and try to implement it into my game as well."