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Looking to three-peat as Pac-12 champions, Utah has entered its second week of its spring football practices.

With quarterback Cam Rising sitting out as he recovers from knee surgery, the Utes are trying to identify his backup among several candidates. Competition is fierce at other positions as well.

In order to compete for league titles, depth is always a must. And that depth is developed during the 15 practices the NCAA allows each spring.

Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley summed it up this way: “You have to have depth. Injuries are going to happen. They happened to us last year. That second and third guy in has to win you football games and be good enough to be a starter. Spring ball is so much more about fundamentals and technique and finding out what you’re depth is going to be and helping guys progress and develop so you can go into fall camp feeling confident in your depth.”

Utah has put together impressive recruiting classes in recent years. The Utes have stockpiled young talent and they have supplemented that thanks to additions through the transfer portal with players like defensive end Logan Fano, cornerback Miles Battle, linebacker Levani Damuni and placekicker Cole Becker.

Developing depth in the spring is crucial. Oftentimes, that depth, or the lack thereof, reveals itself from September-January.

In case you missed it

ESPN has produced a new documentary about the life and death of University of Utah track and field athlete Lauren McCluskey, who was shot and killed on Utah’s campus in October 2018 by her ex-boyfriend.

The documentary, “Listen,” debuted Tuesday and can be watched on ESPN+.

As the Deseret News’ Kelsey Dallas wrote, “McCluskey’s death sparked a contentious debate about campus safety after it was revealed that she had been in repeated contact with University of Utah police officers about being scared of Melvin Rowland, who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound the same night he murdered McCluskey. McCluskey’s parents, Jill and Matt McCluskey, eventually reached a $13.5 million settlement with the University of Utah over the school’s handling of Lauren’s complaints.”

From the archives

Related
‘We will be better next year’: Breakout season showed Utah women’s basketball isn’t a one-year wonder
Utah’s Mark Harlan selected as AD of the Year
Utah’s Andy Ludwig ranked a top-3 offensive coordinator by Pro Football Focus

Extra points

  • ‘May the best man win’: Who will rise to the top in Utah’s backup QB battle? (Deseret News)
  • Dalton Kincaid didn’t participate in Utes’ pro day, but here’s why he’s projected as a first-round draft pick (Deseret News)
  • Bitter finish ends Utah’s dream season as LSU ekes out a Sweet 16 win over Utes (Deseret News)
  • Colorado center Lawson Lovering transfers to Utah (Deseret News)
  • ‘He is a pleasant surprise’: Why Utah coaches are so high on BYU transfer, defensive end Logan Fano (Deseret News)
  • Is adding San Diego State to the Pac-12 a ‘no-brainer’? (Deseret News)

Fanalyst

I’m a Ute fan and hope the best for Rising, but I’m afraid he is on the “injured QB to coach” track. He will see limited play, suffer another injury, serve as mentor, then the injury will prevent any NFL play. With his drive and instincts he will be a good coach.

Really hope I am wrong but his recent experience points this way. Makes finding a #2 all the more pressing.

— Utesteve

With all the interviews I read about the last two weeks, Utah seemed to have the “sweet 16” as their goal. It felt like they were just happy to be there, which worried me going in to the LSU game.

Hopefully next year they set their goals higher and aren’t just happy to be there, but play to win it all.

— niners

It’s sad that it’s gotten to this point. I agree that SDSU is a no-brainer for us right now, but man, if you’d asked 5-10-15 years ago the answer would have been “no way.” What has changed isn’t SDSU, it’s how pathetically run our conference is. Larry Scott hung us out to dry and Kliavkoff has no idea how to right the ship. Adding SDSU is a matter of survival for P12, but they bring down the overall value of the conference (Final Four appearance not withstanding).

— UtesNat

Up next

March 30 | 3 p.m. | Gymnastics | NCAA Regional Second Round | @Los Angeles | ESPN+
March 31 | 4 p.m. | Softball | vs. California | @Berkeley, California | Pac-12 Networks
March 31 | 7 p.m. | Baseball | vs. USC | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Mountain
April 1 | 1 p.m. | Softball | vs. California | @Berkeley, California | Pac-12 Networks
April 1 | 7 p.m. | Baseball | vs. USC | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Mountain
April 2 | 1 p.m. | Softball | vs. California | @Berkeley, California | Pac-12 Mountain
April 2 | 7 p.m. | Baseball | vs. USC | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Networks

Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley coaches his players during spring practices at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. | Hunter Dyke, Utah Athletics