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There are a bunch of intriguing storylines for Utah, the reigning Pac-12 champions, during spring practices.

Among them is the battle for the backup quarterback job (behind starter Cam Rising) which is between Ja’Quinden Jackson and walk-on Bryson Barnes.

“It’s a great competition right now. Both guys are working really hard,” said offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig. “Ja’Quinden has done a lot of good things in the offseason in terms of tightening up his motion and he’s showing more repetitive accuracy. He had some live work (Tuesday) with some quarterback runs. It was real positive. Bryson Barnes continues to be a great operational guy. Great system mastery. He’s working on his repetitive accuracy. It’s a neck-and-neck battle. I’m fired up to watch it each day.”

Meanwhile, the return of tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid is a big deal for Utah’s offense. On defense, Utah is working on healing up in the secondary. And a handful of newcomers have been impressing the coaches.

Utah’s spring game is scheduled for April 23.

Numbers game

5: Where The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman projects Devin Lloyd going to the New York Giants in the first round of the NFL draft.

10: Score earned by Kara Eaker on the balance beam at the NCAA Seattle Regional final.

198.200: The Red Rocks’ meet-high score at the NCAA Regionals.

From the archives

Related
Can Devin Lloyd be a top 5 NFL draft pick? This expert believes so
Kara Eaker has returned to form at the perfect time for Utah

Extra points

  • Super Bowl champ Eric Weddle now has his own Wordle spinoff (Deseret News)
  • Utah receives commitment from Cincinnati guard transfer Mike Saunders Jr. (Deseret News)
  • Did Utah or BYU make ESPN’s women’s basketball way-too-early top 25 rankings? (Deseret News)
  • After giving up 573 passing yards in Rose Bowl, Utah’s shorthanded secondary healing up (Deseret News)
  • With a berth at nationals up for grabs, Utah made history again and again and again (Deseret News)

Fanalyst

“Often low picks wind up going to teams with a huge gap to fill in terms of talent — Seattle would be a dream come true for Lloyd as they’ve got a D with a huge need of a rebuild but they’ve had some amazing defensive teams before. He’d be the anchor of the rebuild in a place that likely will prioritize the defense.”

— Josh from london

“Utah has a WR turned TE, who runs a 4.47, 40, Munir McClain. He was dinged up last season and made the switch to TE, this season. He is 6-foot-4, 235 and is that fast. Utah may be redefining the TE position as they go. As for CBs. Utah has typically been able to pressure the QB. Which helps on the back end. If that doesn’t happen (see Rose Bowl), it’s tough to defend a WR for a long period of time (long being relative). For any CB. But we’d love to see a team full of Clark Phillips and Jaylon Johnsons at CB. Broughton, Marks, Vaughn are all really good too. When healthy. Utah is built to compete. Even with a Lincoln Riley-led USC team. I hope they get much better. I’d love to see the South go between Utah and USC for a while.”

— ArizonaUte

Up next

April 8 | 5 p.m. | Softball | vs. California | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

April 8 | 6 p.m. | Baseball | vs. UCLA | @Salt Lake City | Utah Live Stream

April 9 | 2 p.m. | Baseball | vs. UCLA | @Salt Lake City | Utah Live Stream

April 9 | 3 p.m. | Softball | vs. California | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

April 10 | Noon | Softball | vs. California | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

April 10 | 1 p.m. | Baseball | vs. UCLA | @Salt Lake City | Utah Live Stream

April 14 | 11 a.m. | Gymnastics | NCAA Championship semifinal | @Fort Worth, Texas | ESPN2