The University of Utah’s already young, inexperienced secondary got even younger and more inexperienced late Monday afternoon.
Redshirt junior cornerback Bronson Boyd has entered his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal, Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham confirmed on his weekly radio show Monday evening.
Boyd’s decision to transfer comes on the same day Utah released its first in-season depth chart. On it, Boyd is listed as a backup at one cornerback spot behind much-hyped four-star freshman Clark Phillips III. As expected, with Phillips at one cornerback spot, sophomore JT Broughton is penciled at the other cornerback spot, with sophomore Malone Mataele set to start at nickel.
“That was disappointing,” Whittingham said. “He was a great teammate, a great member of our program and he did everything we asked of him. For whatever reason, with Clark coming in and JT on the other side, maybe he thought there would be better opportunities elsewhere. I wish he stayed stayed with us and finished the season, but he had his mind made up.”
Utah’s secondary is not necessarily thin going into Saturday’s season opener vs. Arizona (2 p.m., ESPNU), but there is no question that it is awfully young after all five members of last season’s secondary wound up on active NFL rosters or practice squads.
With Boyd now out of the mix, Whittingham said Monday night that true freshman Caine Savage will enter the two-deep. Another true freshman, Faybian Marks was already listed as one backup cornerback.
Of the 10 players listed on the two-deep between both cornerback spots, the nickel and both safety spots, six are true freshmen. Boyd was the only one of the 10 to have registered a defensive start.
Whittingham was consistent throughout fall camp that figuring out the secondary was among his chief priorities. As camp wore on, and the quarterback situation straightened itself out, Whittingham was vocal that the secondary had morphed into his biggest personnel concern.
Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley, who also acts as the defensive backs coach, is slated to speak with reporters via Zoom on Wednesday morning.
Pac-12 releases game-week testing protocols
With football season across the Pac-12 ready to begin on Saturday, the league late Monday afternoon released details of its game-week testing protocols.
Key elements of the testing protocols include:
• Daily point-of-care testing on each day of full practice, higher-risk of transmission activity, travel, and games.
• Minimum once weekly PCR test (in addition to daily point-of-care testing). For football game weeks, the weekly PCR test will take place within 36 hours of game time for home team student-athletes and within 36 hours of travel departure for visiting team student-athletes.
• Any positive daily point-of-care antigen test must be followed by a PCR test within 24 hours.
• A third-party testing administrator will administer game day point-of-care antigen tests (and PCR tests as applicable) for each team and on-field officials.
• Game-day air ambulance service will be available in case any individual tests positive while traveling for competition.
• All testing protocols continue to be subject to state, local, and campus public health requirements.