22 Fall Camp

The days are a little shorter, there’s a hint of fall in the air, even when it gets into the 90s during the day. Here we go!

The number 22 took on significance nobody could have imagined in 2020. Will this team be able to honor the number in '22? I’m pretty sure they will, though in the bigger scheme whatever the scoreboard says is a secondary concern (though I’m optimistic about that part, too).

Fall camp always answers many questions, and it will be the same this year. I’m not going to try and quantify all the questions and answers, though a few thoughts for today:

  • SR DE Xfr Gabe Reid pointing out the difference in intensity and tempo compared to his first stop. (Not unexpected, but always good to start with that kind of foundation.)

  • WR leader DeVaughn Vele noting the development in FR WR Money Parks. :slight_smile:

  • FR QB Nate Johnson clearly is just a freshman, but we’ve never had a QB who was a 10.5x 100M guy. With QB leadership like Rising, it’s enticing to think what ways Johnson might be used in a first game against a defense with a first year coaching staff. At a minimum there is decoy value. Or setting up a QB reverse with Rising in the slot, or a QB run from that formation. About a half dozen wrinkles, if Nate shows enough savvy, even for a FR. His pointing out the competitive battles and how he likes to be around it is a great sign.

  • I can’t believe Micah Bernard is just a Soph. What a luxury to have that kind of experience and vertical burst, especially against a Game 1 new defense.

  • The Rose Bowl was a team that was veteran and ready to throw unexpected punches, but if we’re going to have a similar season, we need to start throwing those kind of punches in Game 1.

  • the catch FR WR Sidney Mbanasor made against JT Broughton is the kind of play that can launch a youngster, break through any FR hesitation and self-doubt. When you have Tavion Thomas right there to celebrate with you… Yeah. There’s a long way to go with this kid, but that’s a nice start.

Maybe Uteopia and others with insight can pipe up. Even when I was watching the entire practice, there was way too much going on for any one person to absorb. (That’s why they film practice)

Out west we have four seasons and a ton of things to do. Ute fans are ready to pivot to Utah football.

WR thoughts:

Short video clips from practice are better than still photos.

Makai Cope is young but athletic, and has already cemented a reputation for circus catches:

:heart_eyes: @makaicope pic.twitter.com/hZKStkdqx1

— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) August 9, 2022

Sidney Mbanasor is even younger, but 6-4 / 210, made a tough catch through Broughton

.@Sidneymbanasor :handshake: @RandyMoss #GoUtes | @Utah_Football pic.twitter.com/DWSRhtNhZU

— Utah Athletics (@utahathletics) August 5, 2022

I’ll take DeVaughn Vele’s word for the progress shown by Money Parks, we all know what Vele brings… and Solo has been quiet, but I’ve seen senior breakouts over and over.

The way our offense is designed, in the past few years the WRs have not had a prominent role, relying more on the run game and then an emergent TE game. As we saw later last year, against good defenses it’s not enough to have credible decoys to draw coverage away from your strengths - you need those decoys to be weapons themselves.

One way to have success over the course of the game is to force each opposing defender to credibly fear being burned on every play. It takes a toll. You can’t let guys take plays off.

It all remains to be seen, but the ingredients are there. Rising can deliver passes consistently in tight windows that historically would be considered high-risk/low-yield situations. And we’ve also seen glimpses - mostly of Vele, but also Parks & Cope. Mbanasor - can he be another big WR threat, right away?

The WR room will miss Covey - any would. Now it’s time for guys to establish themselves as the next crop of names.


Having big kids out there running routes can give Rising more and better opportunities to complete passes…as long as the receivers can 1) get enough separation to make a clean catch; and 2) complete the catch.

It’s easy (and understandable) for receivers going over the middle to get gun shy about getting hit, especially if the QB is throwing balls that hang them out to dry (insert former ASU Qb Jaden Daniels hers). Luckily, Rising didn’t show a propensity for throwing balls like that. Hopefully their confidence their QB won’t do that will open up the whole field.

Defenses hate having to defend sideline to sideline in the backfield. Having to position for that pulls players away from the line of scrimmage, allowing the running game to move the ball with unfettered impunity and nasty intentions.

Hope the WR corps has a breakout season all.


Very poetic


How is the OL looking? Bam was sometimes a bit rough early in the season, but I worry that a lot of our running success came from his ability to push a DE and LB back 5 yards with each hand. Hopefully a re-vamped receiver corps will open things up regardless.


The top ingredients for a good OL are experience and reps together. You never hear about a true FR stepping in and dominating in OL play - there’s just no substitute for experience, hard work and reps together.

  • Braedon Daniels is a 4th year player who’s mostly played LG, currently penciled in at LT.
  • Sataoa Laumea is another veteran at LG
  • Paul Maile & Johnny Maea are both experienced at C
  • Keaton Bills is a 3rd year guy at RG
  • Jaren Kump is also experienced, at RT

There’s 6 guys with significant game experience, right there.

Falcon Kaumatule is a RS SO, has seen the field, is freakishly long and in his 3rd year has the scheme down cold.

Some newbies who will crack the 2-deep are a couple of name-credibility guys, Hunter Lotulelei and Michael Mokofisi, and highly regarded Zereoue Williams out of Arizona.

Short of having 5 Nick Fords to run out there, OL looks solid. Not the old Nebraska corn-fed wall of men, but we don’t need that.


Interesting, classic Scalley pickup S Clayton Isbell, transfer from Illinois State.

New Utah safety Clayton Isbell is making an impression in fall camp - Deseret News

Bishop and RJ Hubert are bringing him up to speed quickly, but this kid is reportedly pretty athletic. 247 has him listed as 6-3 / 195, so might be a RoJo kind of FS, which would allow Bishop to stay at SS.

Update - Isbell is now listed as 6-2 / 220. Pretty effusive praise in his assessment on the U’s 247 site:

Possesses great size at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, appears to be leaner than the weight would indicate. He has tremendous length which he utilizes very effectively. Good athlete that can cover ground deep, can be utilized in man coverages, and chase down ball carriers. Plenty of experience as a free safety and strong safety, he’s a versatile player is equally effective in the box and in deep coverages. Good range but is probably better suited in halves and quarter coverages. Shows the ability to properly read the quarterback and find targets in the area. Shows good ball skills and hands to poke away, deflect, or intercept passes. Easy mover, he just glides across the field. Good flexibility in his lower half to allow him to change directions. Understands how to disguise and drop into proper coverages, while diagnosing the action in front of him and adjusting on the fly. Gets downhill with confidence, which is a product properly reading and trusting keys. A quick mental processor, he diagnoses quickly and consistently to fill the lane to make plays around the line of scrimmage. Can pack a punch as a tackler but has good arm length to be a sound wrap up tackler at the same time. Can be utilized off the edge as a blitzer against run or pass and be quite effective.

He was an unrated prospect coming out of high school but has turned himself into one of the more productive safeties at Illinois State. In three seasons, Isbell has totaled 101 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 6 pass deflections. He’s a safety that is comfortable in coverage and shows good ability to read and diagnose opposing offenses to make plays on the ball or ball carriers. In his three years at Illinois State, Isbell was named a Freshman All-American in 2019 and earned another All-American selection this past season after compiling 62 tackles, three interceptions, three pass break ups, and 2.5 tackles for loss.

Being able to play both positions is a real key in Scalley’s D, for both flexibility reasons, and to disguise coverages. The things our defense was able to do with Blackmon and Burgess in 2019 was graduate level sophistication.

Remains to be seen, but I’d bet we’ll hear Isbell’s name called a lot the next two years.