October 7, 2022

Raven Tribune

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Utah football debuted with the highest pre-ranking ever, with the University of Utah ranked 25

Utah football debuted with the highest pre-ranking ever, with the University of Utah ranked 25

Utes were placed eighth in last week’s AFCA Preliminary Coach Poll.

(Hunter Dyke | Utah Athletics) Utah coach Kyle Whittingham speaks to his team during soccer practice in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.

The University of Utah will open its season on September 3 at the University of Florida ranked in the top 10 of both national polls.

The Utes, 10-4 Pac-12 champions last year and for the first time last season, made their pre-season debut for the Associated Press Top 25 Monday morning at No. 7. This is the sixth time Utah has been ranked in a pre-season by the AP, which has been producing a pre-season poll since 1950.

AP order comes A week after Utah appeared in eighth place in the AFC Preliminary Coaches Poll. At the time, No. 8 was the highest pre-season rating in the program’s history.

On Monday, Oregon scored at No. 11, while USC was at No. 14. Utah will host the Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 15, and later travel to Eugene to face the Ducks on November 19.

Meanwhile, BYU crept into the 25th place in an AP poll after being excluded from the Coaches Poll poll. The Cougars are the third member to come from the 12 after Cincinnati (No. 23) and Houston (No. 24). The Cougars will begin playing the Big 12 in 2023.

Baylor, BYU’s inaugural opponent, finished 10th in an AP poll. The following week, BYU will be on the road against the aforementioned ducks.

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Four BYU opponents start the season ranked. Notre Dame, which BYU will play in Las Vegas on Oct. 8, ranks fifth in both AP coaches and opinion polls. Arkansas ranked No. 19 after being No. 21 in the first coaches poll.

Utah, the fifth week of BYU, received two votes.

QB2 still to be determined

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has said several times in the past two weeks that he hopes to settle the heart of his reserve full back after the first fight.

That schedule has been extended as Whittingham on Monday wasn’t ready to choose between Bryson Barnes and Ja’Quinden Jackson. The camp competition will now begin this weekend, when the Utes are set to spar for the second and final time.

“They were both great fights, and the two guys are competing, it’s up to them exclusively for the second man,” Whittingham said. “We’ll have an answer coming out of the next fight, exactly how we’re going to deal with it.”

Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig added: “These two guys are still competing well, and we’re in a good position now. We’d like to make a formal decision maybe after the next fight and give these guys another week to work.”

Eight offensive navigators in the mix after the first fight

After Utah’s first brawl on Saturday, offensive line coach Jim Harding said Monday afternoon he believes he has eight players he will be playing with this season, excluding injuries.

Harding suggested that the beginning of the right intervention still existed between Garen Combe and Falcon Kumatali. Kump, who will be out with knee surgery at the end of the season, is believed to be the favourite, although Harding noted that Kump is rusty and has only practiced 10 times in the past 10 months.

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“These 10 practices have been since our return,” Harding said on the Zoom call. “After getting injured at the end of September, certainly through spring training, he did back-foot movements and did everything he could.

“It certainly wasn’t a mistake on his part, but the bottom line is that he’s still only practicing 10 days. Baby has a very high care factor and great work ethic. He’s in the top eight, he’s pushing for the top five.”

Another unmarked spot is in the center where Utes is watching a fight between Paul Maile and Johnny Maea, according to Harding.

This indicates that seven of the top eight are Brayden Daniels, Keaton Bells, Satawa Laumea, Comb, Kumatuli, Miley and Maya. Daniels, Bills (left guard) and Lumia (right goalkeeper) are all starting players, although Daniels has switched from right tackle to left tackle.