The Utah football program has announced the starting quarterback, and it is true sophomore Tyler Huntley, who beat out returning starter Troy Williams, who is a senior and a team captain. Third on the depth chart is Alabama transfer Cooper Bateman. This move surprised me, I figured Williams would be the starter. In the bowl game last year, we saw Huntley get reps in a special package with Williams starting, which was kind of what I figured we would see this year. This move speaks to the progress Huntley has made and does not negatively reflect on Williams or Bateman.
Per offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, Huntley has made huge strides since the start of spring football, which speaks volumes about Taylor’s ability to develop quarterbacks. Huntley’s athleticism was also the best among the group of quarterbacks, but he was not as polished of a passer as Williams or Bateman when Taylor arrived.
Taylor’s offense does not require a pocket passer as many assume. This misnomer may stem from the fact that his star pupil is current Washington quarterback Jake Browning, a traditional drop back passer, or because the ball is in the air so much. However, watching Eastern Washington film from last year, it became apparent how much Taylor likes the quarterback run game. He and head coach Kyle Whittingham have both stressed the importance of quarterbacks being able to extend the play. While all three quarterbacks can definitely do this, Huntley is the quickest and most elusive in the group.
There was some other news from the press release today not related to quarterback.
Senior center Lo Falemaka returned to the field for practice last week after suffering an injury earlier in fall camp. Junior cornerback Tyrone Smith suffered a season-ending injury. He does have a redshirt year available though.
With Huntley named the starting quarterback, the only remaining position battle is between Matt Gay and Chayden Johnston for placekicker. The starting five have been set on the offensive line with Jackson Barton at left tackle, Lo Falamaka at center, and Jordan Agasiva at right guard. The other two starters are Salesi “Leka” Uhatafe and Darrin Paulo. It has yet to be decided between those two who will play left guard and who will play right tackle.
With the start of school, the team can expand to a roster of 120 from 105 in fall camp. They added the following walk ons: quarterback Jason Money, running back Matty Matautia, wide receiver Jake Wright, offensive linemen Jack Hansen and Stratten Wagner, defensive backs Riley Phillips, Zach Boesen, Adan Mao and defensive tackle Scott Foley.