Utah coach Kyle Whittingham emphasized again Monday that Bryson Barnes will continue to be the Utes’ starting quarterback.

The Utes, coming off a 35-6 loss to Oregon at Rice-Eccles Stadium, will move forward with Barnes at the helm as they prepare to take on Arizona State in Salt Lake City on Saturday (noon MDT, Pac-12 Network).

“Whoever gives us the best chance to win is who will trot out there and if Brandon (Rose) becomes that guy, then yes, that would happen. But right now Bryson Barnes is our guy and that’s our No. 1 quarterback at this point in time.” — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham

With two conference losses, the Utes are nearly out of the Pac-12 title race, though crazier things have happened; multiple results fell into place on the last week of the 2022 season and two-conference-loss Utah went to — and won — the Pac-12 championship.

Some Utah fans are wondering if the Utes should see what they have in quarterback Brandon Rose with a Pac-12 championship all but off the table, but Whittingham’s job is to win football games. The Utes may not lift the Pac-12 trophy this season, but with a 6-2 record, there’s still a chance to go to a good bowl game. Right now, Whittingham believes that Barnes gives Utah the best chance to win.

“Whoever gives us the best chance to win is who will trot out there and if Brandon (Rose) becomes that guy, then yes, that would happen. But right now Bryson Barnes is our guy and that’s our No. 1 quarterback at this point in time,” Whittingham said.

Right now, the quarterback pecking order seems to be Barnes, Nate Johnson and Luke Bottari. Those three have been the quarterbacks that have dressed for games this season.

It appears Rose is on the path of obtaining a medical redshirt, Whittingham said Monday morning.

“You either have a medical redshirt or just don’t play in any more than four games and it kind of equates to the same thing and right now that’s the path we’re on for him,” Whittingham said.

What Whittingham is referring to in the latter half of that quote is a normal redshirt, where you can still redshirt even if you’ve played in up to four games. But it appears that Rose, who didn’t appear in any games last season, has already used his normal redshirt. He’s listed on Utah’s roster as a redshirt freshman.

As discussed before with Cam Rising and Brant Kuithe, in order to qualify for a medical redshirt, the injury must be season-ending. Since Rose suffered the injury during fall camp and hasn’t played the whole year, the understanding is that he can’t play a snap for the rest of the season if he wants to go the medical redshirt route.

What Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told his players after 35-6 loss to Oregon
‘It was worse than what the score indicated’: No. 13 Utah embarrassed by No. 8 Oregon in 35-6 loss
Utes’ big showdown with the Ducks turns out to be MUSS ado about nothing

Since Rose missed a good deal of the season with the injury suffered in fall camp, he was behind the curve, but he is currently Utah’s scout team quarterback. Whittingham said it’s “a possibility” that Rose might dress for a game.

“Right now he’s still running the scout team and doing a phenomenal job of that. In fact, he was our scout team player of the week two weeks ago against USC and has been given a great look and continues to improve,” Whittingham said. “Missing all that time obviously set him back and had he not missed all that time, he’d be more in the mix. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. But here we are with four games left and we’ll see if he can elevate himself, but that’s really up to him how he performs.”

Other things Whittingham said Monday

  • The Utah coach said two-way player Sione Vaki wasn’t feeling “up to par” Saturday, but said that they could have done a better job of getting him touches on offense.
View Comments

“He’s a warrior and he was out there, but I think you could tell he wasn’t his usual self. But yeah, we could have and should have done a better job of that,” Whittingham said.

Vaki will continue to have a 70-30 split in favor of the defense, Whittingham said.

“Yeah, that was a little bit of a dog and pony show, wasn’t it? You got to do what you got to do, take one for the team. But it was great having ‘GameDay’ here, I can tell you that,” Whittingham said. “Great exposure for us, wish we would’ve played better obviously, but you’re trying to build your brand, you’re trying to get exposure and you’re trying to connect with recruits and let them know that hey, this is a pretty good place, exciting place. And so that’s what that’s all about.”

  • One thing Whittingham will never do is publicly single out players during media availabilities. Time after time, Whittingham takes the blame for Utah’s results.

“We’ll start with coaches having game plans that put our guys in better positions. I’m not going to in any way, shape or form blame our players,” Whittingham said. “They played hard, they never quit from snap one to the very end. And so we as coaches got to do a better job of creating better matchups, better schematics, and that’s really our take as coaches. That’s where we squarely place the blame is on ourselves.”

Left to right, Rece Davis, Utah’s head coach Kyle Whittingham, and Pat McAfee talk during the filming of ESPN’s “College GameDay” show at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News
Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.