‘Just keep competing, keep competing, keep competing’: Utah seeing improvement from defensive backs, wide receivers
Coach Kyle Whittingham sees a lot of potential in his defensive backs and the development of the wide receiver corps is coming along.
Yes, Utah’s defensive secondary is relatively young and relatively inexperienced.
But coach Kyle Whittingham sees a lot of potential in his defensive backs and, of course, won’t make any excuses.
“We’re doing a good job right now. They’re working and they’re doing everything I’m asking them to do. It’s about continuing to grow every day and keep stacking days together.” — Utah wide receivers coach Chad Bumphis
“The secondary is doing a nice job. Those guys are all still extremely young and inexperienced, but nobody cares,” he said. “They’ve got to step up, just like they did last season. Not only the five games last season but that entire fall practice, we were practicing without playing seemingly forever. All those accrued practices really helped that group and, of course, the five games were big for them.”
Freshman Clark Phillips, who had an interception during Saturday’s scrimmage; sophomore JaTravis Broughton, freshman Faybian Marks; and freshman cornerback Zemaiah Vaughn have all made a good impression during spring practices.
“We moved Vaughn to corner (from safety) this spring and he’s doing a nice job,” Whittingham said. “They all got tested last year even though it was an abbreviated season. Right now, they’re all continuing to get better. (Cornerbacks coach) Sharrieff Shah is doing a great job with that group. He’s a fantastic coach.”
First-year Utah wide receivers coach Chad Bumphis was an accomplished receiver at Mississippi State not too long ago. What has he brought so far to that position at Utah?
“Just (helping the receivers) understand the fundamentals and technique right now. We’ve got some guys that have played a lot of ball,” Bumphis said. “We have some young guys with some talent. My deal is to get the most out of them, help them understand where they can be successful.
“(Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig) does an awesome job of putting guys in position to be successful and playing to the strengths of our offense,” Bumphis added. “Right now, we’re just trying to find those guys on the perimeter who we think going into fall camp can help us. We’re doing a good job right now. They’re working and they’re doing everything I’m asking them to do. It’s about continuing to grow every day and keep stacking days together.”
Utah released a depth chart at the start of spring practices, but it’s meant to be very fluid and is subject to change from practice to practice.
Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley doesn’t want the players to worry about the pecking order on the depth chart for a while.
“The only depth chart that matters is the one come game week. That’s what we tell our players,” Scalley said. “Never worry about what a depth chart is saying, particularly in spring. Just keep competing, keep competing, keep competing.”