Day 6 at Camp Kyle was closed to the Media at the Eccles Football Facility on Campus. Kyle Whittingham will have his crew back on the practice field on Wednesday morning and it will be open for media observation.
I thought that since we don’t have any actual practice information or data from Tuesday and Day 6, that I could do some recap information from the first week of Camp Kyle 2018, with my observations and thoughts.
Most Competitive and Deepest Position Group
Kyle Whittingham has mentioned on multiple occasions in the first week that his most competitive position group is the wide receivers. The group that has perhaps been one of the bigger question marks in recent seasons, has the look of a deep and very talented group this fall. Troy Taylor and Guy Holliday have upwards of a dozen guys competing daily for reps. Look for Taylor to cut that dozen down to probably 8 by the opener against Weber St. The Top 3 guys seem relatively locked in right now with Mariner, Simpkins and Covey appearing to hold down those spots. Here’s my best guess for now at Utah’s Top 8 WR’s (in no real order)
Utah’s Defensive Strength
Normally this would be a no-brainer. Utah’s Front Four generally leads the way with the defensive unit and at time the entire team. While the Defensive Front Four will be strong this season, right now Morgan Scalley’s Defense is being led from the back end. It’s not often that you can lose a player the caliber of Chase Hansen and get stronger, but it appears that is the case with the Utah Secondary. The two best and most consistent players to my eyes the first week of Camp Kyle have been Julian Blackmon and Jaylon Johnson, the two outside cover corners. Javelin Guidry in the slot has been good and the two safeties, Blair and Ballard, have looked quite comfortable playing together. Much like the WR Corps, the strength in this unit might come in it’s overall depth of talent. Talking to Morgan Scalley this week, he thinks there isn’t a whole lot of drop off from his first to his second unit. Here’s how they line up
Corner-Julian Blackmon, Tyrone Smith
Corner-Jaylon Johnson, Josh Nurse
Nickel-Javelin Guidry, Tareke Lewis, Malone Mataele
Safety-Corrion Ballard, Philip Afia
Safety-Marquis Blair, Terrell Burgess
Offensive Line Coming Into Focus
Jim Harding told me on Monday that he’d like to have 8 guys ready to play this year on his offensive line. Though Camp is only about a week old, it appears that he has his 8 and perhaps even his “best five guys” to start. If you’d like to hear Jim Harding talking Offensive Line play with me, you can listen right here. This unit appears to be light years ahead of where they were a year ago at this time.
If the season started today here’s who I think would start up front..
The Others that would round out the Top 8: Johnny Capra, Paul Toala and Orlando Umana.
The Offensive Gatekeeper
A year ago, Troy Taylor surprised most of us with his decision to go with Tyler Huntley as his starter over the senior and more experienced Troy Williams. That decision had it’s up and downs in 2017 but may pay off handsomely in 2018. Huntley is unquestionably a much better Quarterback this Fall Camp. You can see it in his demeanor, his vocal leadership and most importantly in his decision making on the field. There is no QB1 Battle this Fall, it’s Huntley’s job. A year ago you could see him thinking through plays this fall, so far, he’s been playing much more instinctual football.
The Battle behind Huntley appears to be close between Jack Tuttle and Jason Shelley. Tuttle has seen a few more reps with the 2nd unit in the last couple of days. I’d expect to see this go right down to the opener against Weber St.
Subscribe to ESPN700's News!
Get the latest sports news, contests and flyaways, and more straight to your inbox with our weekly emails.