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Red All Over: Cam Rising still has a future at the University of Utah, if he wants one

Rising will serve as the backup quarterback to Charlie Brewer when 24th-ranked Utah opens Thursday vs. Weber State

(Photo courtesy of University of Utah Athletics) Utah quarterback Cameron Rising.

Red All Over is a weekly newsletter covering Utah athletics. Subscribe here.

The aftermath of a college football quarterback competition at fall camp sometimes goes like this.

The player who lost the quarterback competition of course wants to start, but it’s not going to happen at their current school, at least not right now. Whether it be immediately, or at the end of the season, they hit the NCAA Transfer Portal, seeking a new beginning, and maybe an easier road to starting. Maybe they transfer to another FBS school, maybe they drop down a level to the FCS, but their time at their current spot has ended.

Less than a week ago, Cam Rising lost a camp quarterback competition at the University of Utah to Charlie Brewer. That was made official on Thursday morning when the Utes released their initial depth chart, with Brewer listed as the starter and Rising as the backup. This, after Rising won the job last fall, was lost for the season in the opener to a shoulder injury, rehabbed to the point where he was ready for camp, and pushed Brewer for the job harder than a lot of people thought he would.

Objectively looking at where things stand with Brewer readying to start, Rising should still be considered a significant piece of the puzzle. Hitting the transfer portal may not serve Rising well, because one could argue his best chance to start is still at Utah.

Taking a super too-early look at the Utes’ quarterback depth beyond 2021, Rising will be a fifth-year junior in his fourth year at Utah, which would give him more experience than anyone on the roster. Ja’Quinden Jackson will be a third-year sophomore who has presumably never started a game, Peter Costelli will either be a redshirt freshman or a true sophomore with, presumably zero career starts.

At best, Kyle Whittingham names Rising the starter before spring practice starts. At worst, Rising is dealing with competition in the spring/summer/fall, but he would be the favorite to win the job in this scenario. Of course, Whittingham could look to the transfer portal for more quarterback help as he did with Brewer, a 39-game starter at Baylor, but Rising would still have a considerable head start in terms of knowing and operating Utah’s system.

Could Rising transfer this offseason? Sure, but he has already transferred once and has taken two redshirt seasons. Transferring to another FBS school means he may not be eligible immediately, and even if he was, he’s starting over. He could be eligible immediately at the FCS level, but is that really the right move if he’s the favorite to start at Utah in 2022?

Ultimately, Rising is going to do what he believes is in his best interest, but his best interest might very well be in Salt Lake City.

What’s on my mind, Utah or otherwise

• Last week, we told you we were looking to rename Red All Over. We gave that responsibility to you, the readers, and you folks came up with some very good, very clever ideas. My crack newsletter staff and I have settled on a new name, so next week, you will see that new name and some new branding. The winner, as promised, has a prize coming his/her way.

• It’s late August, college football is upon us, and I’ve been reading the annual coaching hot seat lists from various outlets. You’re never going to see Kyle Whittingham’s name on those lists (absolutely never) and that is part of why Utah has been, and will continue to be a factor at the top of the Pac-12. Consistency and continuity at the top of the coaching staff food chain is important, and the Utes have that. Personally, I think the school should erect a statue of Whittingham outside Rice-Eccles Stadium once he retires, but we can save that topic for another day.

• In an ESPN700 interview on Thursday, Farmington senior shooting guard Collin Chandler, a top-60 recruit in the class of 2022, reiterated that he will take official visits to Stanford and Arizona, while tossing out there that he also plans to visit Utah and Oregon at some point. Utah getting an official visit has been thought to be imminent. Dates for a Utah visit have not been finalized, but multiple sources indicated to The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday that Halloween weekend has momentum. That makes sense as the Utes football team has a home game that weekend.

• Fall camps are over. I’ve read up on teams across the Pac-12. And while I have not seen one second of Utah’s practices, a lot of things I have thought about the Utes have not changed. Here’s one: It is very reasonable, if not likely, that Utah walks into the LA Coliseum on Oct. 9 at 4-0, having beaten Weber State, BYU, San Diego State and Washington State. It’s tough to gauge where the Utes might be ranked at that point, but somewhere in the mid-to-late teens seems about right.

• The basketball schedule is coming. It’s not done yet, but it’s almost done, so everyone is going to have to take a breath, wait a little longer and, preferably, stop asking about it. I laid out here last week why it’s been a little tougher to get done this year than your average year.

Your questions

Q: “Are there plans to possibly redshirt Ethan Calvert or Mason Tufaga?” -- @ColoUte

A: For context, Calvert and Tufaga are both four-star freshman linebackers, and Calvert, specifically, is the third-highest rated recruit in the history of the program.

No, there are no plans to possibly redshirt Calvert, Tufaga, or anyone else right now, because Utah is months away from having to make that decision.

Remember, players can play in up to four games and still save the year of eligibility. There is absolutely no need to make that type of decision.

Calvert and Tufaga will keep working, depth at the position may change, guys ahead of them may get hurt, etc. Settle in, it’s a long season.

Q: “Using curtains for MBB. Cheapens the nicest arena in the league. Some have given up tix.” -- @mohlin1234

A: There isn’t a question in here, but we haven’t touched on it in a while, so let’s do it.

First, the Huntsman Center is not the nicest arena in the Pac-12. Does it have a case as the most historic arena in the league? No doubt about that. But the nicest? No.

Anyway, I have two thoughts on the curtains coming down on the upper bowl, which will lower the capacity for men’s basketball from 15,000 to 8,500.

One, I think capping attendance at 8,500, making it a more intimate, more engaged atmosphere, could be a competitive advantage. Utah will sell 8,500 tickets every night. It will be loud, and it will be difficult for a road team walking in there.

Two, even at the height of Larry Krystkowiak’s tenure in 2015 and 2016, Utah was barely scraping at 13,000 fans per game. Let’s not pretend like athletic department officials are doing this in the middle of a sellout streak. It has been a long, long time since there was demand calling for 15,000 tickets at the Huntsman Center.

Furthermore, Utah has said that it would consider opening the upper bowl if a high-profile opponent is in town and/or ticket demand calls for such a move. If the upper bowl were to open for a game, those seats would be sold as general admission.

For a number of reasons, I understand people getting worked up over the decreased capacity figure, but I’ve had a hard time joining those people.

Q: “What are your plans for opening college football Saturday?” -- @StaircaseWhitt

A: The same thing I do every college football Saturday, @StaircaseWhitt. Try to take over the world.

Q: “Can you assign an applicable Ted Lasso quote to each of Utah’s games this year?” -- @nstod

A: Who do I look like, Chris Kamrani?

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