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Spring Football Opens with many new faces and questions

NCAA Football: Colorado at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Spring football is here! Practices started today for the Utah football program, a program that is looking to reload for the 2020 season, and is replacing a bunch of high profile names. To get started, let’s dive into the depth chart a bit.

The spring depth chart means very little, but it’s always fun to look at. Off the bat, everyone is going to look at the quarterback spot. We have co-No. 1s with Jake Bentley, Cam Rising and Drew Lisk. Not a big surprise for the opening depth chart. Chances are we won’t see this really shake out until right before the season kicks off, with that said Coach Whitt did comment on the QB race after day one. He said Rising stood out in the first day, which shouldn’t surprise anyone since he’s been in the system for a full season. Bentley, he noted, is still learning the offense and is still thinking when he’s playing. It would be a bit of a shocker if Rising wins the battle over Bentley, but we have seen that happen with Tyler Huntley over Troy Williams a couple of years ago.

On the outside, it’s great to see Britain Covey’s name back out there, and he’ll be ready to roll. The rest of the names there are no surprise. At running back Devin Brumfield leads the pack on this version of the depth chart, with Jordan Wilmore coming up at No. 2. I’m curious as Wilmore develops if he can take over the No. 1 spot.

On defense, it’s new names everywhere. Mika Tufua is the known quantity here, as is Devin Lloyd. Everywhere else is being completely rebuilt. Bronson Boyd is listed as a No. 1 corner, and freshman Clark Phillips is listed as a co-starter at the nickel. That whole group will be interesting to watch. I think the biggest question will be in the secondary as the spring goes along, since guys like Lloyd, Tufua and Tupai (who isn’t practicing right now) all will help the other groups - there’s virtually no vets playing in the back end right now. There’s a lot of young talent back there that we were excited about on their signing days, either this most recent cycle or a year ago, so it will be fun to see these young guys get their shot.

I was surprised not to see Sione Lund on the depth chart, and that’s because he is currently suspended from the team, as is Donte Burton. He wasn’t sure if they’d be back, but I’m guessing the matter will be in their hands to earn their way back. Lund was a transfer from Stanford to Utah last season, and was projected to get some run going forward.

Coach Ludwig also stated there’s really no install with offense, which is to expected for year two, just the addition of a few wrinkles. That’s music to Utah fan’s ears, as that as been so turbulent. To allow the offense, especially a veteran offensive line, to continue to perfect the existing system is a big leg up over a season ago. The offense has a good core, with this offensive line, which needs to use this spring to improve, for sure, and some talented running backs, that the passing game can organically develop over the course of the spring into the summer and then into the fall.

It’s great to have some football back, and it will be fun to watch this team grow, as this may be the most interesting spring in years due to the roster changes.