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Camp Kyle 2020: Shoulder Pads Come Out

Oct 12, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah football program got after it on a sunny and warm day in Salt Lake City Monday afternoon, completing its third practice of fall camp.

The Utes were able to put on shoulder pads today, bringing a new level of physicality to practice. Utah will be in full pads on Wednesday.
 

Highlights From Offense vs. Defense Drills:

  • Bryan Thompson had a hard juke to break free for a 20+ yard touchdown.
  • LaCarea Pleasant-Johnson had a pass breakup on deep coverage.
  • JaTravis Broughton had a solid knockdown near the end zone, showing off some strength downfield.
  • Clark Phillips III was hard to beat, showed off his speed in coverage.
  • Samson Nacua looked strong even in tight coverage, showing his ability to break away to get open across the middle and on the outside.
  • Brant Kuithe was impressive with cuts and bursts of speed, also had a 15+ yard touchdown catch under double coverage.
  • Thomas Yassmin had several strong catches for 20+ yards.
  • Bronson Boyd had a diving pass breakup.
  • Offensive line looked cohesive, opening up solid holes for Devin Brumfield, Jordan Wilmore, Ty Jordan, Micah Bernard and TJ Green.


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U Voices: Quotes From The Utes

Kyle Whittingham | Head Coach

On the first two days of practice…
"We had a good first two days on Friday and Saturday. A lot of good things, a lot of positives, but no pads, so we always take that with a grain of salt. We get to put shells on today and then pads for the rest of the week and then we are looking forward to a big scrimmage on Saturday. It will be the first extensive live work that any of our guys have had for almost a year. So, we are excited to start to find out who we really have and you don't do that until you put the pads on. We have to just keep rolling, we play in what, 26 days? The clock is ticking and we have to be ready."

On how the defensive secondary has looked through the first two practices…
"Very good. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores who are showing a lot of good things. The speed and quickness is obviously an absolute necessity back there and we seem to have an abundance of that. So, the new guys we just brought in with this new recruiting class and the freshmen from last year are really going to be comprising the majority of that secondary. So far so good, but as I mentioned we will get a better evaluation today."

On how the quarterbacks have looked the first two days and how well they have absorbed the playbook…
"As far as their knowledge of the playbook and their grasp of the scheme, it has been outstanding. All three are exceptionally smart individuals. Cameron Rising, Jake Bentley and Drew Lisk are all-cerebral and studies of film. So, that is not an issue whatsoever, it is all boiling down now to execution. We got off to a good start with that with all three of them. All three of them have had some good moments on Friday and Saturday, so it is going to be a tough decision. There is a lot of positive things going on, so the separation right now is very small. We will see what happens while we progress through fall camp, but all three are off to a good start."

On with the skill set this year on offense if there will be more of an emphasis on the pass game…
"Certainly possible. We have had really good running backs come through this program, and really good receivers and quarterbacks as well. Recently with Zack Moss, obviously we gave him the ball quite a bit, but for this year, we are going to do what we do best and right now we are still determining what we do best with this new group. I can tell you for certain that our offensive line is capable for either, being able to pass protect or run block, so we feel really good about that. If you want to have a great offense, you have to be really good up front and we feel positive about those guys. Typically we are searching for seven or eight guys to feel good about and right now we feel like we have a dozen guys that are capable of playing in the Pac-12."

Jim Harding | Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line

On Nick Ford's versatility and where he might play this season…
"I think that depends on the development of some of the younger guys in the program. As it sits today, he will be playing left tackle, but the development of some of those younger tackles could move him back inside. At the same time, I think he gives us some stability out there and he has a lot of ability at left tackle. So, if I were to guess right now, I'd say that is probably where he is staying."

On Simi Moala…
"He did a great job last year in very limited experience after coming over from the defensive line. I can see a lot of similarities between him and Sam Tevi. Tevi was another player that started as a defensive lineman, came over and took him some time to be acclimated to the offense. But with hard work and with Simi continuing to progress, I can definitely see that same trajectory that Sam had."

On where he would like to see some growth and improvement on the offensive line this year…
"Well as far as schematics go, we have to do a better job of handling movement up front, both in the run game and also twist pickup, things like that. Today will be our first day in shells, so it will give us the opportunity to be a little more aggressive and have a little bit more of a realistic view of how we are handling it and that will be something that we address daily in our individual drills. It is something we have to get better at, and it is not a secret, so certainly a point of emphasis for the offensive line."

On having an experienced center like Orlando Umana…
"Orlando has really developed over the years. He has done a nice job and has continued to add things to his game in terms of protection calls and he has always identified the defense. Having that experience certainly does help and the focus now is to continue to develop depth there. He has done a nice job. It doesn't matter who that quarterback is because he provides a level of stability and comfort to whoever might be back there for the quarterbacks."

#12 Drew Lisk | SR | Quarterback

On why he decided to return for his fifth year…
"A lot went into it, but at the end of the day I decided that this program has done nothing but great things for me. It was a great four years before this, so at the end of the day I decided I didn't want to pass up the opportunity for a fifth year here. I am more than happy to be here. Even happier now that we have a season to play this fall."

On being the most veteran player in the quarterback room and what he brings to that table…
"I try to show up every day with a level head and try to take the same consistent approach day-in and day-out. One thing I have learned over my years here is that if you want to be successful at this level, each and every day you have to be the same guy. You can't be all in one day, and checked out the next day, so I just try to bring that in every day, not only for myself, but in the quarterback room too. Just being that level head, not getting too high or too low. I hope that it reflects onto my teammates."

On his mindset heading into this camp's quarterback battle…
"We are going to show up every day, regardless of when the decisions are made and what decision is made. I think all three of us are confident and I don't think that confidence is going to waiver from one day to the next. All three of us show up every day ready to compete and to show what we do best, so I would expect nothing but the best from all three of us."

#7 Cameron Rising | SO | Quarterback

On the season getting delayed and how that influenced how he approached getting prepared for the updated fall schedule…
"As a team, we took it upon ourselves to make sure that we stayed ready throughout this whole process, not knowing what had been transpiring during the pandemic and we were just trying to stay on course. As a team we have done a good job just staying with it and have been able to hit the ground running heading into camp."

On how different it has felt coming off playing for the scout team last year and now competing for a starting position…
"I'd say those reps I got last season playing against the ones on defense were valuable. They served me well up to this point because I was playing against guys that have gone on to do some really good stuff on Sundays in the NFL. So, I think I just tried to make sure those reps were taken advantage of and now I'm just applying those to what we have going on in camp."

On how valuable it was to be able to sit in the booth with Andy Ludwig last season…
"That time that I spent up in that press box was very valuable. I got to see a whole different side of football that I've never really been able to see. Hopefully I am able to continue to think the way Coach Ludwig thinks so I can keep moving forward."

On what the quarterback room is like with three guys competing for a starting job…
"It comes down to iron sharpening iron. Jake and Drew are doing great things and it is making me better. I am trying to push them as well to make sure we are all competing to make sure that we give the team the best quarterback to get this team to win games. We have a great room and I don't want to speak for those two, but I think we all love each other."

#8 Jake Bentley | SR | Quarterback

On how his experience playing in the SEC has prepared him for learning a new offense…
"I think it has helped a lot. Just seeing all of the different blitzes, different schemes and things that the defenses try to do to you in the SEC has prepared me to figure out how to get through any situation. This is a totally different offense for me. A lot of people run the same concepts, but this offense is complex. It takes a lot of learning and a lot of film work, and that is what I have been doing. I think on-field experience in the SEC has helped a lot, and then learning the offense is something I have really had to rely on Coach Ludwig and rely on Drew and Cam to really soak up their knowledge as well."

On if the season had been delayed a year, would he have chosen to come back …
"Absolutely I would have stayed. It never really crossed my mind to leave for the NFL or leave for another college. I love it here. I love the team and I really wanted to stay and continue to grow with them, and continue to battle this weird time together as a team."

On getting prepared to take on fall camp and the quarterback battle…
"I wouldn't call it pressure because you come in every day prepared and ready to compete. I think that is what we have done our entire lives – compete on the football field – just going out there and trying to make each other better and trying to make the team better."

On having a chip on his shoulder after not being able to play last season at South Carolina due to injury and how he is feeling now with a schedule set…
"You know when you say chip on your shoulder it means you are trying to prove something to somebody, but more to me it was a personal chip on my shoulder to know that I could get back out there and do it, not really anything to try and play to anyone's expectations or thoughts of me. It is more that this is the game that I have played my whole life, that I love playing. So, I've been working really hard to get back to this point and get back out there with the team. So for me, it has become just the drive to want to get back out there more with that little break we had and it just really fired me up to get back out on that field."