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Craig Smith is still three months away from coaching his first game at the University of Utah, but he already has his first win.
As vaccination rates among college football programs continue to be a topic of discussion with these respective seasons starting in less than a month, Smith revealed to the Salt Lake Tribune last week that his program is 100% vaccinated. .
To be clear, 100% means exactly that. Fifteen players, the four coaching staff and at least six other program support staff, including the athletic training director of the athletic department, Trevor Jameson.
If any of his guys needed to be convinced, Smith can thank Jameson for his contribution to this cause. Jameson, for those who don’t know, played a major role in running this athletic department through the daily testing of antigens produced by Pac-12 last fall.
â€œWe talked about vaccination right away (after being hired on March 27) and Trevor Jameson, who has been around of course, spoke briefly about it,â€ Smith said. â€œIt’s the protocols, this is what we have to do, and our guys went and got it done right away.
â€œAnd of course some of our guys were already vaccinated when we got hired, but those who weren’t, they got it right away. We’ve had 100% for probably about three months.
The benefits of everyone getting vaccinated should be obvious, but in case they aren’t, let’s review it.
For starters, a vaccinated student-athlete is not subjected to the daily testing, mask wearing, and rigorous safety protocols that, let’s be honest here, have marred the 2020-21 academic year over all three seasons.
As Smith said, if Player A tests positive and comes into contact with an unvaccinated Player B, Player B is out for 14 days due to contact tracing protocols. Aside from ordinary muscle / ligament / bone injuries, the only way a vaccinated player misses any time is if they are positive, which, in fairness, is still a possibility even with the vaccine, but the fact of the matter is. being vaccinated greatly decreases these chances.
Ultimately, his entire immunization schedule reduces everyone’s stress levels, which is a plus as Smith and his team embark on their first year in Salt Lake City.
â€œThere’s just a lot less anxiety,â€ Smith said. â€œOur administration, our athletic training staff have done a very good job of educating and just talking about what the mandates are, what the protocols are, and then it’s up to the individual to make the decision. deems appropriate, which is best for him.
“With all of our guys going voluntarily getting vaccinated, it makes life a lot easier.”
What’s on my mind, Utah or whatever
â€¢ With the fall semester starting August 23 and the add / take out in Utah ending September 3, Smith acknowledged in that same interview that he was planning to use his 13th and final scholarship for 2021- 2022. I thought it was going that way for a while, but hearing Smith admit it matters more than I think. This is not surprising as Smith and his staff have been very calculated, very deliberate with the management of the rosters since their arrival.
â€¢ Between what’s been announced, what’s been reported, and what’s almost done, but not yet approved, Smith’s first non-conference schedule has proven to be smart and well-run given his roster, and, frankly, very solid . The Utah OOC will be good enough where, if the Utes are going about business, they will have a good enough CV where it can be in position for an overall bid with a good performance against the Pac-12 schedule of 20. matches. Smith and his chief planner, assistant Eric Peterson, did well not to overwhelm themselves in their first season here. Again, smart, well managed, strong.
â€¢ Utah football made its debut in the â€œreceiving votesâ€ category on Tuesday when the USA TODAY Coaching Poll was released. The Utes were listed as the first team to receive votes. I say this because, no, Utah is not ranked No. 26 to start the season. Anyone who thinks this has to stop, anyone who writes who needs a better editor. Utah receives votes in the coaches poll to open the season.
â€¢ An intriguing positional battle at Camp Utah this month is the defensive end, where freshmen Van Fillinger and Xavier Carlton battle it out against Mika Tafua. Kyle Whittingham has said positive things about both guys, but defensive end coach Lewis Powell drew the curtain a little more on Wednesday. Powell said after spring training staff thought Carlton was “the guy, and he could be again.” Fair enough. Whittingham has made it clear that Carlton and Fillinger are part of the future in this role, but at least one of them will benefit greatly from the fact that Maxs Tupai won’t be with the squad this fall.
â€¢ Collin Chandler, a Farmington High School Top 75 four-star shooting guard, has had a big summer for the Under Armor-backed Utah Prospects, so the focus is now on the latter stages of that recruiting. Chandler told Rivals late last month that Stanford, Utah State, Arizona, BYU, Utah, Creighton, Oregon are showing the most love. Utah is deeply rooted in it and is expected to receive an official visit at some point this fall. Stanford and Arizona have family attention and are also expected to receive official visits from Chandler, who. for what it’s worth, it’s LDS.
Question: â€œLooking at the football calendar, what game would you call a ‘trap’ game? – @MrSmokinUte
A: If Utah is 3-0, Washington State on September 26 at Rice-Eccles Stadium seems like a trap game to me. Home game, before a bye, USC coming after the bye.
If things have gone well and the Utes control the Pac-12 South at 6-0, Oct. 23 at Oregon State seems like something to watch out for. If you’re kidding the idea of â€‹â€‹a 6-0 Utes team losing to a thrown Beavers team down Pac-12 North, well, that’s why they call it a trap game, folks.
Question: “What line would you set for the Utah O / U on wins this season?” “- @ Johnnyj20
A: Have we ever passed that? Maybe, but let’s start over.
I think the sharps and the various sports bets hit the nail on the head, settling the Utah over / under at 8.5 wins. I wrote a few weeks ago that I think the floor for this Utah team is 8-4, with 10-2 certainly plausible if things go well, so I split the difference and established my prediction at 9-3.
That said, if Charlie Brewer is the starting quarterback, he’s the type of seasoned quarterback with big arms and a big resume that Kyle Whittingham never had at his disposal. If Brewer wins the job and gets off to a good start, expectations may need to be changed.
Question: “If Rising wins the starting position, but then struggles, how long will his leash last knowing that Brewer is a proven and more than capable QB.” – @ Reilly_kb93
A: During my short tenure as Kyle Whittingham’s head, I don’t seem to be someone who makes rash personnel decisions on the basis of a small sample. Having said that, if Rising beats Brewer for the job, I think it will be a long leash because that’s what the start-of-season schedule will allow.
For me, opening up against Weber State is a good opportunity to polish things up if need be. If Rising is struggling, there are a few things they’ll change before going to BYU on September 11th. They won’t put him on the bench.
Plus, if Rising wins the job, it means Whittingham and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig believe he’s the best option, and if Rising is the best option, it won’t be a short leash. A short leash means the starter is looking over his shoulder every day, so if they think Rising is the best option, what positive outcome could there be in making them worry about job security? ?
Question: “Who has the better ‘first to get off the bus’ construction that isn’t Devin Lloyd?” “- @LurchitoUte
A: Not a good question, but a great question, mainly because I’m a heavy eye tester.
I looked up and down the list trying to find an answer, but it’s difficult with no practice access and limited player access.
That said, 6-foot-8, 330-pound Bam Olaseni is just a massive human being, but Van Fillinger, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound sophomore, is an athletic specimen. Long, muscular arms, apparently not an ounce of fat on him.
The bottom line here is that @LurchitoUte hit it. Devin Lloyd is absolutely the best “first off the bus” guy in Utah.
Question: “With his latest interception of a former BYU QB in mind, should the Jets fully embrace a timeshare on Guidry Island?” – @Tim_Populi
A: I laughed, Tim knows the vibrations.
This refers to Javelin Guidry, a nickel double All-Pac-12 returning to Utah, intercepting Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, a BYU guy, at training camp on Saturday.
Uh no. The Jets won’t be pinning their hopes for a competent high school on Guidry, who thanks to him secured a free agent contract to become the Nickel Jets’ best option. Guidry is on the two-deep cornerback, so let’s keep pushing the fumbles, keep making a few plays, give me a reason to be invested beyond Columbus Day.
Plus, if Wilson could stop throwing pickaxes that would be great.
Question: Utah have: a “corner stop”, a “safe eraser”, a “violent rusher pass”, a wide receiver who can “get the upper hand on the D”, a left tackle who can “Protect the blind spot”. – @VegasUte
A: Yes. I do not think so ? Legitimately perhaps. Yes, I can’t wait to know.