Connect with us

Utah

What anonymous Big 12 coaches said about Utah

Published

on

What anonymous Big 12 coaches said about Utah


This article was first published in the Ute Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Wednesday night.

What are Big 12 coaches saying about the Utah Utes as they get set for their first season in the conference?

Athlon Sports recently spoke to coaches from across the Big 12, granting anonymity so they could speak freely, to find out what they thought of the Utes. The remarks about Kyle Whittingham’s program from his peers were all positive.

On quarterback Cameron Rising:

“If (QB Cameron) Rising is back and healthy all season, they’ve got a legit shot at a first-year Big 12 title,” an anonymous Big 12 coach said.

Advertisement

One anonymous Big 12 coach complimented Utah’s veteran quarterback, who returns this season after missing all of 2023 following surgery to repair his torn ACL, meniscus, MPFL and MCL.

For the Utes, Rising has helped revitalize their offense, leading them to back-to-back Pac-12 titles and throwing for a combined 5,527 yards and 46 touchdowns with 13 interceptions and a 64.25% completion rate in his last two seasons.

When healthy, Rising has been the perfect signal-caller for Andy Ludwig’s offense, but it remains to be seen how he will fare in a game in his return from injury. In spring, though, Rising looked good and moved well.

‘It’s definitely these guys on Day 1’

“If you had to pick one program coming in from the Pac-12 as a legit contender, it’s definitely these guys on Day 1. They’re replacing a lot of guys in the WR group and secondary, but the system and culture there is so steady,” another Big 12 anonymous coach said.

Utah is replacing some key wide receivers in Devaughn Vele, who was drafted by the Denver Broncos, and Mikey Matthews, who transferred to Cal, but the Utes ended up upgrading that position group this offseason.

Advertisement

USC transfer receiver Dorian Singer, who had 66 receptions for 1,105 yards and six touchdowns in 2022 at Arizona before seeing a drop-off at USC the next season, where he had 24 catches for 289 yards, is a prime candidate for WR1.

Syracuse transfer Damien Alford, who caught 33 balls for 610 yards and three scores, could replace Matthews in the slot, and Mycah Pittman, whose season was cut short to two games last year, could also fill that role. Money Parks (31 receptions for 293 yards and two touchdowns) is another key target for Rising.

The secondary has two huge holes after safeties Cole Bishop and Sione Vaki were drafted, but Utah feels confident in the ability of cornerback-turned-safety Tao Johnson and one of Nate Ritchie, Johnathan Hall and Stanford transfer Alaka’i Gilman to fill the other spot.

At cornerback, where the Utes have one open starting position, Georgia Tech transfer Kenan Johnson (29 tackles, two forced fumbles, four pass breakups and an interception) is the favorite to win the job.

‘Better than their record in ′23′

“This team was way better than their record in ‘23 when you factor injuries, especially on offense,” an anonymous Big 12 coach said.

Advertisement

Utah went 8-4 last year amid a long list of injuries — Rising, tight end Brant Kuithe, tight end Thomas Yassmin, running back Chris Curry, wide receiver Mycah Pittman, linebacker Lander Barton, defensive end Logan Fano and defensive end Jonah Elliss (missed last two games) all missed time, and several other players missed at least a couple of games.

The quarterback situation was not ideal. Bryson Barnes had a couple of good games in wins over Florida and USC, but faded toward the end of the season as the Utes lost three of their last four, including an ugly 14-7 bowl loss to Northwestern. Nate Johnson didn’t fare any better in his stints, aside from leading the Utes to a win over Baylor.

With Rising back, a lot of Utah’s offensive woes from last season can be fixed if he plays like he did in 2022 and 2023.

‘Bullying finesse offenses’

“They’re coming from a conference where they built a brand by bullying finesse offenses and creating that crazy home environment,” an anonymous Big 12 coach said.

Considering Utah’s offense scored just 23.1 points per game (96th in the nation) last season, and 8-5 record wasn’t the worst possible outcome.

Advertisement

Things could have become a lot uglier for the Utes had their defense not answered the call for the majority of the games.

Utah allowed just 19.3 points per game in 2023, ranking No. 21 in the NCAA. Against some of the best quarterbacks in college football, the Utes allowed 224.4 passing yards per game (65th in the country) and only 82.8 rushing yards per game (fourth in the country).

The Utes have built a brand on consistent, tough defense during Whittingham’s tenure, and it’s usually the first thing opposing coaches mention about the Utes.

As mentioned above, there’s three open spots in the secondary to fill, but the Utes are loaded at linebacker — even with the injury to Levani Damuni, who will miss at least a large chunk of the season. Along the defensive line, Utah returns all of its starters except for Elliss, who was the Utes’ best defensive player last year, leading the nation in sacks per game last season (1.2), even while playing six games with a torn labrum.

Utah’s familiarity with the Big 12

Utah has played five schools in the Big 12 — Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, TCU and BYU more than five times in the Kyle Whittingham era, and Utah has faced three other current Big 12 teams with Whittingham at the helm — Iowa State (2010), West Virginia (2017) and Baylor (2023).

Advertisement
Utah’s Luke Matthews is unable to make the catch with TCU’s Jason Teague defending at Rice-Eccles Stadium. | Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

The Utes will face seven other schools — UCF, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech — for the first time in the modern era over the coming years.

Utah’s 2024 Big 12 slate features home games vs. Arizona, TCU, BYU and Iowa State and road games against Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Houston, Colorado and UCF.

In case you missed it

Kyle Whittingham and Kalani Sitake, who was on Whittingham’s staff at the time, recall Tennessee’s courtship of the Utah head coach in 2010 — and why Whittingham stayed.

From the archive

Extra points

  • How Kalani Sitake and Kyle Whittingham view recent developments in NCAA structure, college football (Deseret News)
  • Former Utah star Alissa Pili goes off for first 20-point game in young WNBA career (Deseret News)
  • What Mike Gundy said about the Utes under Kyle Whittingham (Deseret News)



Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Utah

Nearly 2,400 acres burned in Little Twist fire, about 10% contained

Published

on

Nearly 2,400 acres burned in Little Twist fire, about 10% contained


BEAVER, Utah (ABC4) — In the latest update from officials — sent out on Sunday — the Little Twist fire was most recently estimated to be at a size of about 2,398 acres.

The wildfire originally began as a prescribed burn, but has continued to increase in size and severity. However, the blaze was estimated to be about 10% contained as of Sunday, and officials said they have made some progress with their operations.

“Fire personnel were successful in implementing burnout operations on the north and northwest perimeters of the fire yesterday,” Utah Fire Info said on social media Sunday.

An image of the Little Twist fire near Beaver, Utah. Utah Fire Info provided this image in a social media update on June 23, 2024. (Courtesy: Utah Fire Info)

Officials said the weather conditions were favorable, which allowed ground resources to “effectively begin to establish black line down the Little Twist Trail Ridge, where crews had previously constructed indirect handline in preparation for securing that area of the fire.”

Advertisement

However, hot and dry conditions were expected over the fire on Sunday, and officials said there was an increased chance for humidity and higher winds accompanying a chance of precipitation in the afternoon and early evening.

“If conditions permit, crews will continue with firing operations while utilizing aerial resources for reconnaissance and bucket work,” Utah Fire Info said on Sunday.

The area closures are expected to remain in effect, as officials said that will offer safety for both the public and those who are fighting the fire. Officials said 247 personnel have been assigned to the fire as of Sunday.

However, while the area closures were still in effect, officials clarified that some campgrounds would remain open.

“Little Reservoir, Tushar Lakeside and Kents Lake Campgrounds remain open to the public for camping,” officials said.

Advertisement

Smoke was expected to continue to be visible in the coming weeks in surrounding areas, including I-15 and I-70, as well as Hwy-89 and Hwy-20.



Source link

Continue Reading

Utah

Flash floods could hit Southern Utah Sunday and Monday

Published

on

Flash floods could hit Southern Utah Sunday and Monday


SALT LAKE CITY — The National Weather Service has announced a series of warnings for Utah on Sunday. One of those warnings involve “threats of flash floods” for both Sunday and Monday.

The NWS said in a post on its X account that areas in Southern Utah could receive flash floods.

Those areas include:

  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • Western portions of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Other areas that could receive a flash flood include “slot canyons, normally dry washes and areas near recent burn scars.”

“If you have outdoor plans during this time involving slot canyons, please consider rescheduling them,” The post said.

Advertisement

 

KSL meteorologist Brett Benson explained what pushes in extreme flooding.

“The rivers are running high and then you get these thunderstorms that dump a bunch of extra water in an isolated area,” Benson said.

“It could be dangerous; you’ve got to be careful if you’re out there.”

Advertisement

Bureau of Land Management warns of elevated risks of potential washouts in the canyons and to stay clear of fast-moving rivers and overflowing streams.

Currently, some roads are closed, including Kane Creek Road and heavy debris has been reported on highway 128.

Parts of Utah under excessive heat warning

Cleanup begins after severe storm in eastern Utah

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Advertisement





Source link

Continue Reading

Utah

Utah father of six Olin Johnson killed wife in murder-suicide after chilling final Facebook post: police

Published

on

Utah father of six Olin Johnson killed wife in murder-suicide after chilling final Facebook post: police


A Utah man and his wife were found dead in a suspected murder-suicide on Thursday afternoon, days after he reflected on being a “crappy person” in his final chilling social media post.

Olin Johnson, 57, is accused of fatally shooting Kerilyn Johnson, 52, before turning the gun on himself inside their $1.34-million American Fork, Utah home, according to KUTV.

Police have not disclosed a motive for the killing, but said a family member discovered their parents’ bodies.

Olin Johnson is accused of fatally shooting his wife Kerilyn Johnson before turning the gun on himself inside their million-dollar American Fork home. Kerilyn Johnson/Facebook

Neighbors of the couple said they were playing softball with them the night before the shooting, and didn’t notice any problems as Olin hinted at future plans, the outlet reported.

Advertisement

The couple celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary in April.

Before the tragedy, Olin shared his concerning thoughts and love for his motorcycle.

“No matter how crappy a person I am, motorcycles always love me back. Oh and skiing. Skiing loves me too,” Olin’s post on June 18 read alongside pictures of him riding his bike and skiing.

Olin’s account featured a bio that read “father to 6 great kids and one Beautiful wife,” and also featured his family, especially Kerilyn.

“The family is requesting privacy as they grieve their loss. We express our most profound and sincere condolences to the family and friends of Olin and Kerilyn,” the American Fork Police said.

Advertisement

According to his LinkedIn, Olin is listed as the owner of Simtek Modular, a “service company that makes modular panels for force-on-force training.”

The page alleges the company has worked on projects with the US Border Patrol, FBI and Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Police have not disclosed a motive for the killings. Olin Johnson/Instagram
The couple had built the million-dollar home in American Fork back in 2022. KUTV 2 News Salt Lake City/YouTube

Recent posts showcased the couple’s trip to Australia, where they celebrated Kerilyn’s birthday and a separate post praising her breadmaking.

Kerilyn Johnson was an adjunct faculty member at the BYU School of Music where she taught several courses over the last two years.

She is credited with performing in multiple main stage productions and performed in throughout the US, Russia and Baltic States while completing her bachelor’s degree.

Advertisement

“Currently, she does studio work locally and maintains her private studio at home, in addition to being a mother of six,” her bio read.

Days before the tragic murder-suicide, Olin shared his concerning thoughts and love for his motorcycle. Olin Johnson/Instagram
The couple shared six children together. GoFundMe

She was remembered as a generous friend that would be missed.

“Kerilyn was literally one of the most generous, kind, supportive people that I have ever known,” Gayle Lockwood told KUTV.

Lockwood, a retired voice teacher at BYU, said she had Johnson as a student and called her a friend.

“She is a light that will be missed in the world,” she added.

Advertisement

A GoFundMe was created by a family friend to raise funds for the Johnson children who have to make funeral arrangements.

Kerilyn Johnson was an adjunct faculty member at the BYU School of Music where she taught several courses over the last two years.
She also did studio work locally and maintains her private studio at home. Olin Johnson/Instagram

“With the sudden passing of Olin and Kerilyn Lowe Johnson many are devastated and desire to show love and support to their six children as they navigate this tragedy,” the crowdfunding read.

“It is hoped that they would not need to shoulder the financial burden of paying for funeral expenses and other unexpected costs over the coming weeks and months.”



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending