How has the offseason been going so far?
"It's going well. We had a productive spring ball and now we're into the recruiting season as our evaluation period ended at the end of May. We've all been out on the road and now we're back home doing camps. Little leage camp going on right now, had our Ute Shoot last weekend, the 7 on 7 tournament. Starting next week we'll have some high school specialist camps, O-line, D-Line Camps and skill position camps. Then on the 20th is the Utah Elite Camp."
How many offers do you put out during an elite camp like that when you only get a chance to evaluate them for one day.
It depends. We had a couple of guys who were offer guys already last year in Eric Rowe and Jarrell Oliver. Both of those guys were up here for that day and both committed on that day. It was good to us last year. It gives you the opportunity to coach them up, and find out what their ceiling is, what their skill set is. It's an opportunity for us coaches to be hands on."
How many players do you anticipate being at the elite camp this year?
"I'm not positive, but I would say somewhere around 200 maybe."
bsutefan question- You were replacing both safeties coming into spring ball with Justin Taplin-Ross graduating and Brian Blechen moving up to linebacker. How would you asses the play of the group in the spring?
"A lot of youth, but the thing I like about them is that there really aren't any soft guys. All of them take care of business in the classroom and off the field. All are very eager to learn and compete out there. Right now we're looking for a little more depth at the free safety spot. I feel we have some solid strong safety types. It's the youngest group I've ever had. Since I've got there, Joe Dale was a veteran. I was working with Robert Johnson. DeShawn Richard was a veteran and then we brought in Terrell Cole. Robert and Joe again. The year after that we had Justin Taplin-Ross, who teamed with Brian Blechen who was a true freshman was something new. You look at Greg Bird being the only sernior of the group. You've got Michael Walker who is a redshirt sophomore. Damian Payne is a redshirt freshman. Quade Chappuis is going to be a redshirt sophomore. Chris Washington is a redshirt sophomore. You've got Tyron Morris who is in the same boat. Outside of Bird, you're looking at sophomores or under for the remainder of the safeties."
Were there any players that surprised or impressed you with their play in the spring?
"Michael Walker was a guy that played some corner last year, and we knew he had the speed and toughness, but he really picked up fairly quickly what we threw at him, so he really stood out. Tyron Morris is a guy who made the transition from wide receiver to safety in the limited time he had. Quade Chappuis is a guy that would be in contention for a scholarship based on his play in the spring. Damian Payne and Terrell Reese did some great things. Overall the safety group made some good strides in the spring. You don't want to leave anyone out, but all of them did some things."
There were injuries to two guys that kept them out of spring ball in Greg Bird and Chris Washington. Where do those two figure into the plans going into the fall?
"Chris is still kind of an unknown just because he's only played a little bit of mop-up time and that's it. Greg at least has been in for a significant amount of time and has been in the mix, especially late last year when he was playing a hybrid backer type. so there's a guy who knows the defense. He's your senior leader. A guy that didn't need a ton of spring ball. He's a guy that once he's healthy, he's going to be able to compete for that starting strong safety spot. Chris, on the other hand, hasn't had a lot of time with the injuries. He needs get some strength inhis bdy and gain some weight. He definitely has the range and athleticism, but needs to be a little more consistent with his play on the field. I like him, like I said, none of these guys are soft guys."
bsutefan question-The current depth chart has two newcomers in JC transfer Keith McGill and true freshman Eric Rowe at the one and two at the free safety spot. What is it about each player that makes you believe that they're the two best guys there despite not having a chance to see either of them on the field in a Ute uniform?
"Having played the game, I don't even look at the depth chart. Bottom line is no one has proven anything. We recruit a junior college kid to come in right away. Both Keith and Eric will tell you that they've got to earn that. We have a ton of faith in them to do some really good things for us, but just like Brian Blechen, you've got to get there, you've got to learn the defense. We're going to play, regardless of who it is, number 1, the guys who take care of business off the field, number 2, they know the defense, and number 3, they can make plays on special teams. The guys that do that are going to be the guys that are starting."
The other players still see the depth chart and will see that there are two new guys in the top two spots. Does that serve as motivation for them and is it intended to do so?
"It should motivate them and I hope it does. I tell them that there is no solid depth chart. The depth chart is not etched in stone. It's something where you have to prove yourself week in and week out. If you see a guy that is in front of you, it's your job to beat him out, however you have to do it and out make those reps count. I have a great group of non-complainers that just go to work and they know what they're fighting for. The great thing about it is they all get along. We have a great tight knit group that understands that it's college football and you've got to compete for your spot. They understand the criteria of what it takes to compete at Utah. It's very easy for me to show them where they are meeting those expectations and where they are falling short."
Ask A Coach Interview- Morgan Scalley Part 1
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