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How the Utes are simulating ‘Swampy’ conditions

With the season opener against the Gators nearing, Utes getting creative in preparing for game in SEC country

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The Utes are doing what they can during fall camp to simulate the conditions they will face in The Swamp.

The Utes are doing what they can during fall camp to simulate the conditions they will face in The Swamp; they open the season against the Gators in Gainesville, Florida on Sept. 3.

Phelan M. Ebenhack, Associated Press

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During fall camp this week at Utah, practices have been held inside the hot and humid indoor facility, with loud crowd noise in the background, in an attempt to approximate what the Utes will face on Sept. 3 in the season opener at Florida.

Yes, that game is a big one and Utah is preparing accordingly.

A lot of eyes will be on that showdown at The Swamp. The Utes checked in at No. 7 in the Associated Press preseason poll — the program’s highest preseason ranking ever.

Meanwhile, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff are busy trying to finalize the depth chart. Among the position battles still undecided includes backup quarterback behind Cam Rising. Ja’Quinden Jackson and Bryson Barnes are battling for that spot. Whittingham said a decision could come after Saturday’s scrimmage.

The Utes held their first scrimmage on Aug. 13.

“I thought there were a lot of positives,” offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said about the scrimmage. “We generated some explosive plays and we took care of the football. We’re on track. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re on track.”

Running back Micah Bernard described the scrimmage as “amazing. The offense, you’re going to be happy to see what we do down in Florida. … We’re more explosive. It’s crazy to say because last year we were very explosive. In the scrimmage, we showed who we are. That’s nice to see with a couple of weeks away from game day.”

In case you missed it

Former Utah linebacker Chase Hansen made a big splash last weekend. He re-signed with the New Orleans Saints and then, days later, intercepted a pass and returned it 44 yards and recorded six tackles and a pass deflection in a 17-13 setback to the Houston Texans in an NFL preseason game.

Numbers game

6: Where Utah started the season in the ESPN’s power rankings.

7: Where Utah landed in the Associated Press preseason poll, its highest preseason ranking ever. 

From the archives

Extra points

  • Who stood out in Utah’s first scrimmage of fall camp? (Deseret News)
  • There’s some clarification on Britain Covey’s thumb injury (Deseret News)
  • Why Gabe Reid transferred from Stanford to Utah (Deseret News)
  • Why ‘starting fast’ is so crucial for Utah’s offense this season (Deseret News)
  • Why new Utah safety Clayton Isbell is turning heads in fall camp (Deseret News)
  • Utah football announces that ‘Moment of Loudness’ will be back this year (Deseret News)
  • Utah’s Junior Tafuna eager to improve after being named Pac-12’s top freshman defender last year (Deseret News)
  • Tyler Huntley ‘ran the offense really well’ in first-half performance, Ravens coach says (Deseret News)
  • Commentary: Utah would make a great addition to the Big 12 (Deseret News)


We have talent & depth all over the field, including (Junior) Tafuna obviously.

The key this year is keeping (Cam Rising) healthy. … We do that & we might very well win a ton of games IMO. … Definitely have that potential.


Awesome to see Covey dedicating some time helping out the team that gambled on him out of HS and helped get him to a good position in the NFL. Most are projecting he makes the 53 man roster and we’ll have to see how the thumb injury affects that, if at all.

But coaches love talking about him, commentators, sports writers — all love what he is showing from rookie minicamp to OTAs to preseason performance.

And instead of being selfish, his character shines through and he is trying to help give Vele some hints of how to get better for the season and how to impress at the next level, just as he’s done.

Continuing to make the Ute family proud!

— wwookie

I live in Dallas and from everything I’ve heard the Big 12 isn’t interested in Utah. The schools I keep hearing about are the two Arizona schools, Colorado, and San Diego State unless Oregon and/or Washington somehow end up being possibilities. Their new commissioner is really big about only adding schools that bring financial or geographic value and I’ve heard they feel like they’ve got the SLC/Utah market with BYU. Utah has had a pretty good football team lately but these days it seems like the on-field performance isn’t all that much of a factor in how attractive schools are.

— TexasAggie

Up next

Aug. 10 | 7 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Idaho State | @Salt Lake City

Aug. 16 | 10 a.m. | Volleyball | vs. Loyola Marymount | @Salt Lake City

Sept. 3 | 5 p.m. | Football | vs. Florida | @Gainesville, Florida | ESPN