No doubt, there’s a high level of talent, experience and firepower at the quarterback position in the Pac-12.
There’s USC’s Heisman Trophy-winning Caleb Williams, projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft.
Also, there’s Oregon’s Bo Nix; Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.; Washington State’s Cameron Ward; Arizona’s Jayden deLaura; and Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders.
And, of course, Utah has Cam Rising, who suffered a knee injury in the Rose Bowl but is expected to play this fall.
The Utes defense will face Williams (Oct. 21), Nix (Oct. 28), Penix Jr. (Nov. 11), deLaura (Nov. 18) and Sanders (Nov. 25) over the final six weeks of the regular season.
For defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley, keeping those opposing QBs in check will be a tough challenge.
“It’s a week-to-week deal. In this league, as good as offensive firepower that we have, you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game every single week. Each offense will provide different issues for you,” he said. “The good thing is, I believe we have the talent to be very, very competitive and do well in this league.
“Now, it’s a matter of, do you have the leadership and the depth coming out of fall camp? Fall camp’s a grinder and you’ve got to come to the party healthy. Sometimes that doesn’t always happen. We’ve gotta continue to develop and get the depth that we feel that we need.”
When it comes to putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, how will that affect rotations on a deep defensive line?
“We have a rep count on each of our guys. We have an understanding of where that limit is,” Scalley said. “Just like last year, and years’ previous, we’ve always done a fair amount of rotating, particularly the defensive tackle spot when you’re taking on 300-pound offensive linemen every single down.
“Now, we’ll have the ability with fresh defensive ends to provide just as much athleticism and pressure so that’s what that depth allows you to do — rotating when you feel like you need it.”