Two days remain in “Fall Camp” for the University of Utah Football Team. They workout on Friday then Scrimmage on Saturday morning. Following the Saturday Scrimmage, Kyle Whittingham and his staff will attempt to set their depth chart for the first game of the season on August 30th against Weber St. Utah will enter game week mode on Monday when classes begin, thus ending Fall Camp.
Only a couple of position battles remain at Camp Kyle. I’ll give you my best guess at what I think will play out. These guesses are based upon observations and conversations I’ve had this fall….
Offensive Left Guard-It appears to be a two man race at this point between Nick Ford and Orlando Umana to fill the only empty starters job along the Utah Offensive Line. Ford, a redshirt freshman, has been a constant through Camp at this spot. Whittingham, Taylor and Harding have all sung his praises at various junctures. Orlando Umana, sophomore, has been in the mix but pushed over the last several days.
Best Guess: Nick Ford
Left Defensive End-The battle for this spot may have actually begun last fall, when Caleb Repp, Maxs Tupai and Mika Tafua all were getting back up reps at defensive end. The competition carried into the Spring and now Fall Camp. It seems that all three players have been spoken about well by their coaches at different points this fall. Gary Anderson spoke glowingly about all three players, but especially Caleb Repp. Repp’s biggest issue isn’t learning the position anymore it’s keeping enough weight on to play it. Repp and Tafua seem to split time with the 1’s and 2’s at the defensive end spot in the practice time I’ve been able to observe. I think two and maybe three guys could see game reps at this spot.
Best Guess: Caleb Repp
Defensive Tackle-I’m not sure that it really matters who starts next to Leki Fotu at the defensive tackle spot for Utah this fall. Fotu should be a monster inside and a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen. Much like the defensive end spot, the defensive tackle position next to Fotu appears to be a three man race, with John Penisini, Pita Tonga and Howard Pututau. Pututau and Tonga have seen more first teams reps in the practice time I’ve been able to see through two weeks of camp. All three are space eaters who go over 300 pounds. Much like the End spot I think that all three will see time, but only one can start next to Fotu.
Best Guess: Howard Pututau
Kick Returner-Of the remaining position battles this may be the least important for Kyle Whittingham, with college football seemingly doing it’s best to take away the kick return away. Utah’s had a tradition of outstanding kick return men down through the years. Names like Odom, Monroe, Tucker, Smithson and Dunn. The good news for Utah is that they have never had more potential return men. Utah has speed all over the field. The question is who is the best option to return kicks. Julian Blackmon and Demari Simpkins both play prominent roles on their respective defensive and offensive units, so there could a risk in using one of them. Utah added JC Transfer Derrick Vickers at the start of camp. Vickers was a return specialist at the junior college level, but hasn’t played in over a year and is still getting up to speed at Utah.
Best Guess-Demari Simpkins
Utah 2 Deep
Utah will publish it’s first depth chart of the season sometime after Saturday’s Final Scrimmage. Here’s my best guess at how that two deep will look…Note, that Utah will not name their #2 QB per Kyle Whittingham
QB-Huntley/Shelley or Tuttle
Place Kicker/Kickoffs-Matt Gay
Long Snapper-Maddie Golden
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