Former Utah running back Quinton Ganther was hired over the winter as the Utes’ new running backs coach. 

Ganther has assimilated admirably in his return to the program.

“He connects with the players very well. He’s got their attention; he’s got their respect,” coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He’s a guy that fits right into what we’re doing offensively as far as what our expectations are of the coaches. He’s a guy that we don’t expect to miss a beat at that position group.”

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During the spring, Ganther is evaluating the group of backs he’s inherited, including Tavion Thomas.  

“It’s a large group. There are a lot of guys,” he said. “It’s good to see for myself for my own judgment and assessment of what these guys bring to the table. To this point, I’ve heard what they can do. Now I can see it for myself. … Right now, it’s a new season. Nobody has done anything yet. What you did last year does not count.”

CONSPICUOUSLY ABSENT: For Utah’s coaching staff and players, it’s been bizarre not to have Britain Covey around for spring practices. 

Covey had been in the program since 2015 and he became the program’s all-time leader in punt return yardage. He was also an irrepressible team captain and leader. 

For Covey, who’s now preparing for the upcoming NFL draft, it’s been weird, too. 

“I live like 30 seconds away. It was really strange. I came to the facility and I wanted to get out there,” he said about the first day of spring drills. “But I’m going to try to be a mentor the best I can to this next group. I love what this team is going to do on the field. They’ve got some great leadership coming back. Consider me a fan now. Now I can be the Twitter fan and get mad at the coaches.”

SOLO: Wide receiver Solomon Enis caught 22 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown last season. 

Whittingham is expecting even more from Enis this season. 

“Solo’s been very steady for us. We expect him to have his most productive year for us this year, his senior year. He’s another guy that fills those leadership shoes,” he said. “Solo’s a tremendous worker. One thing that gets overlooked is, he’s an outstanding special teams player. He’s on two or three special teams. He has value beyond what he does at receiver.”

BACK TO NORMAL: Tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Freddie Whittingham said during the pandemic, the process of recruiting changed dramatically. 

And now?

“It got back to being normal in January. We were out recruiting and getting a lot of early looks at the class of 2023 guys,” he said. “I expect that after the spring game, when we’re back out on the road, it will be back to normal, hopefully.”

HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW: Last season, Kyle Whittingham grew out his hair. 

Midseason, he got a haircut. But as spring practices kicked off, he had grown out his hair again. 

“It’s a spring goal of mine,” Whittingham joked. “That was No. 2 — grow hair long.”