Camp Kyle 2018 is officially underway with the start of fall practices on the hill today. The 2018 Utes have high expectations, with a ton of returning starters, but a challenging schedule. For the first time in 10 years Utah has a returning QB and offensive coordinator, along with a veteran offensive line and a potent running game. The defense is as deep as ever, and having two All-Americans on special teams goes a long way too.
With all that said, obviously excitement is high around fall camp starting, and while I wasn’t able to make it up to practice today, I took to Twitter to get a feel from a couple of sources I really trust, ESPN 700’s Bill Riley, and KSL’s Josh Furlong. Here are couple of their Tweets with some of my thoughts:
Whitt says the Offensive Line is still up in the air. Trying to get the best 5 guys in there together. Says to check back next week he should have a much better feel. #Utes #CampKyle18— Bill Riley (@espn700bill) August 2, 2018
With four of five returning starters, it makes sense that they’re doing some experimentation to see who fits where best. Riley followed up saying the Ford is the front runner for the fifth spot at this point, likely at one of the guard spots. I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep rotating guys for the next few weeks just to see which alignment fits best.
Both Whittingham and Taylor sang the praises of Britain Covey and his return to the offense. Taylor says that Covey already has a firm grasp on his Offensive Philosophy.#Utes #CampKyle18— Bill Riley (@espn700bill) August 2, 2018
The name everybody has been waiting for, Britain Covey is back on the field and looks like he’s not lost a step. What makes me happier is the fact it sounds like he has a grasp on the offense and should be able to pick up quickly. Riley also stated that the coaches called out true freshman Solomon Ennis, the four star wide out from Arizona. He is a guy everyone should keep their eyes on, he’s the kind of guy that can fill the void left by Raelon Singleton.
Marquise Blair is back on the field too, and is claiming to be back to the same spot that he was at when he got injured last season. He’ll be a big deal in the secondary if he can stay healthy, and as long as Pac-12 officials aren’t so targeting happy this season.
Kyle Whittingham says their are waiting on JC clearance of LB Bryant Pirtle. Whitt says he's done the work, now simply needs the clearance. Hopes to have him by next week.#Utes #CampKyle18— Bill Riley (@espn700bill) August 2, 2018
The linebacking corps is looking to get deeper with the addition of Bryant Pirtle, the JC transfer, but it sounds like the Utes are waiting on everything to get cleared before he can join the team. The good news is that it sounds like the work is done, he just needs the administrative stuff to work itself out. The name floated around the program for a bit is former BYU linebacker Francis Bernard, who is enrolled at Utah right now. Sounds like the program is waiting for some things to clear for him, but nothing is official yet, and he’d be a nice addition to depth for the program.
Whittingham said none of the QBs will be live this fall. Also, Zack Moss will be limited in camp so he doesn’t get too banged up.— Josh Furlong (@JFurKSL) August 2, 2018
We won’t be seeing a lot of Zack Moss this fall, by the sounds of it with Furlong’s tweet. That makes sense, keep the wear and tear off of him, especially with fall camp being a solid month worth of work. The coaches need to find a way to balance the work load for some of these guys and keep them fresh going into the first game.
Taylor said day 1 was much easier this year because he knows all the guys’ names and cares about them a lot. They understand his offense better and there are fewer questions to address.— Josh Furlong (@JFurKSL) August 2, 2018
This tweet from Furlong may have been my favorite. The fact that the offense is not implementing and addressing scheme, but rather execution is a big deal. Things like precision in the passing game, route running, blocking schemes and the like can all be focused on instead of terminology and other basics of the offense. When you have a team that can react and instead of constantly thinking about what to do, you can play so much faster.
The thing I’m going to keep an eye out for as we move forward is health. Utah needs to come out of fall camp healthy, because I think all of the other pieces are there.
Go check out Riley’s and Furlong’s Twitter feeds for some more, and some of their post practice thoughts.