The University of Utah’s three-man quarterback competition is right on schedule.
So said Kyle Whittingham Saturday afternoon in the wake of the Utes conducting the first of two live scrimmages during fall camp. Without singling anyone out Saturday, Whittingham said Jake Bentley, Cameron Rising and Drew Lisk all did some good things, but later confirmed that when the Utes reconvene on Monday, the competition will go from three to two.
Whittingham has been adamant that the first week of camp, which is complete following Saturday’s scrimmage, would get his team down to two options, with an outside chance of that first scrimmage leading to a starter.
Without having seen the film, Whittingham offered no indication he was ready to pare things down to one guy, but he did acknowledge that time is getting short. The Utes will scrimmage for the second and final time on Oct. 24 ahead of their Nov. 7 opener vs. Arizona at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“Guaranteed, have to, we don’t have a choice in that,” Whittingham said matter-of-factly when asked if he’s ready to move on the quarterbacks. “We have to be able to start sinking the reps into two guys and then, like we’ve said many times before, get that down to one. There is no time for us to continue to sink equal reps into three guys.”
This quarterback competition has long been expected to boil down to Bentley, a South Carolina graduate transfer with 33 career starts, and Rising, a redshirt sophomore, who, like Bentley, has not taken a snap in a Utah uniform.
Tyrone Young-Smith out for the season
Utah’s wide receiver depth has taken a real hit over the last week.
On Monday, junior Jaylen Dixon announced he would transfer and on Saturday, Whittingham said senior Tyrone Young-Smith will be out for the season due to injury.
Young-Smith’s ailment was undisclosed, but he has had an injury-plagued career, having played in only three games since the start of the 2017 season.
Dixon and Young-Smith’s respective absences makes the receiver room thin. Britain Covey will start in the slot, while Bryan Thomspon and Solomon Enis will get the call outside. Samson Nacua has played in 40 career games, but beyond those four, options are unproven.
Four captains elected
Bentley, senior center Orlando Umana, redshirt junior linebacker Devin Lloyd and redshirt junior defensive end Mika Tafua have been elected as Utah’s four 2020 captains.
The election took place on Thursday evening, with the team finding out the results on Friday alongside their captaincies being announced to the general public via Twitter.
Running back depth coming into focus
Whittingham initially played his cards close to the vest when he said Jordan Wilmore, Devin Brunfield, Micah Bernard and Ty Jordan all performed well Saturday.
A short time later, unprompted, Whittingham said those four will make up the depth chart in some order, which would mean that redshirt junior TJ Green is the odd-man out.
“TJ Green didn’t quite have the production that the other guys had in the scheme, although he did a couple nice things as well,” Whittingham said.
The battle for No. 1 running back is expected to be between Brumfield and Wilmore, while Whittingham has said a couple of times since camp began that Jordan, a true freshman and one-time Texas commit, has impressed early.