Utah Football Making Final Preparations for Season Opener


Kevin Cody

University of Utah quarterback, senior, Charlie Brewer, in the University of Utah Spring Football Game on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Cody | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


The University of Utah football team is gearing up for the season opener against Weber State on Thursday evening. Utah has now announced a depth chart, chosen a starting quarterback, and is well on their way to kicking off a long-anticipated 2021 season.

Charlie Brewer has officially been tapped as the starting quarterback for week one and moving forward, sending Cameron Rising to the bench. Brewer’s experience and statistics ultimately won him the job, but according to head coach Kyle Whittingham, it was a very close race. 

“It was a close call, so close it could have gone either way. Charlie’s experience … and the success he had at Baylor throwing the football, I believe our team would have been just fine with either decision, they would have rallied around whichever guy ultimately won the job,” said Whittingham. “They’re both very well respected, hard workers and prepare the way you’re supposed to. It was really close, but ultimately Charlie, and probably the experience factor, was the biggest reason.”

Whittingham also confirmed that Bryson Barnes will be the third-string quarterback this week as Ja’Quinden Jackson is dealing with an injury that will likely hold him out. The team is planning to redshirt Peter Costelli this season.

Offensive line remains the most questionable position in terms of health right now. Whittingham confirmed there’s at least three players who are dealing with injuries and may not play this week.

“It’s the most unstable, at least health-wise, position on the team right now,” said Whittingham.

No running back has yet emerged as a starter and there are four of them listed as a potential option on the depth chart. Micah Bernard, Tavion Thomas, TJ Pledger and Chris Curry are all in the mix, and each of them is in the game plan this week.

“We have a plan in mind to play them all, give them all carries and opportunities to show what they can do,” Whittingham said. “Until it separates itself, we’ll just keep them all as 1, 1A, 1B, 1C I guess.”

Really, every position qualifies as a “position to watch”, but eyes will definitely be on the receiving group as they try to establish consistency there. Whittingham has been high on Theo Howard throughout camp, and Solomon Enis and Britain Covey provide more valuable experience to a young group.

The team is excited to get back in front of fans and show what they can do in front of a loud home crowd for the first time in a long time. 

“Looking forward to getting the season underway. Really excited to get back in the stadium with our fans,” said Whittingham. “Excited about the new addition to the stadium and the fans will love it as well … Weber State is a good team, playoff team in the FCS every single year … well-coached, very sound fundamentally, technique-wise, schematically, they’re a very good team. We’re excited to get the season underway, see what we’ve got, and go from there.”

Wildcats quarterback Bronson Barron was fantastic during the spring season for Weber State, helping lead them to a fourth straight Big Sky championship. Barron threw for over 1,000 yards in just five games as a freshman and was a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the top freshman in the country. Utah will have their hands full trying to limit him as much as possible. 

Weber State is a quality opponent with a lot of ties to the Utes. Multiple former staff members are with the Wildcats, creating a fun matchup where both sides try to get their bearings as the season kicks off. Utah has a lot to sort out before beginning Pac-12 play, and this is a good opportunity to see how they stack up in live-action after the conclusion of a long offseason.


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