Utah football: What Morgan Scalley thinks about this Utah defense

Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley directs players during practice for the Rose Bowl game against Ohio State on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Scalley has been impressed with his defense after rough start to the season at The Swamp.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Utah’s defense got off to a shaky start this season in the season-opening loss at Florida as it missed 27 tackles and allowed Gators QB Anthony Richardson to run wild at times.

But defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley has liked what he’s seen from his players since then.

The Utes have surrendered only 14 points and 258 yards in their last two games combined. 

Utah visits Arizona State Saturday (8:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN) in its Pac-12 opener.

So how does Scalley assess the defense at this point of the season? 

“What you’re looking for is progress every week, particularly in the run game. Week 1, not good enough. It starts with us as a coaching staff,” he said. “Week 2, you’re making your best progress from Week 1 to Week 2 if you’re doing it right. I thought we did that. We played San Diego State, a team that thrives on running the ball.

“To do what we did there, another improvement. I like the energy and focus of our guys. They’re intent on getting better. When you’ve got guys that understand how to handle adversity and how to handle what some would say was a Week 1 failure, that’s a tough pill to swallow,” Scalley added. “To come back, they’re resilient. It’s a fun group to coach and I love these guys. It’s a day-to-day, week-to-week deal. I feel like we’re practicing the right way. I’m happy with the progress. … It’s a fun group to coach because they are resilient and they are tough-minded and they made the corrections.”

  College football: Where are Utah, BYU ranked in latest coaches poll?

Utes on the air

No. 13 Utah (2-1) at Arizona State (1-2) 

Saturday, 8:30 p.m. MDT

Sun Devil Stadium 

TV: ESPN

Radio: ESPN 700

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Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

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