Kyle Whittingham provides positive Cameron Rising update after Florida win
Kyle Whittingham said after Utah’s 24-11 win over Florida that starting quarterback Cameron Rising will be able to practice “with no limitations” next week as the 14th-ranked Utes will look to move to 2-0 on the year.
Rising was a game-time decision on Thursday night for the Utes. He ultimately did not play, ceding the starting spot to Bryson Barnes. The senior quarterback is working his way back from offseason ACL surgery and his status was a major talking point for weeks leading up to the opener.
Barnes drew the start and helped the Utes to a win. He threw a 70-yard touchdown to Money Parks on Utah’s first offensive play to kick things off, and the Utes never trailed from then on. Nate Johnson also came in and provided a spark with his rushing ability.
But Rising is the proverbial straw that stirs the Utes’ drink on offense.
“We want Cam back as soon as we can get him back, I can tell you that,” Whittingham said when asked if the win bought Rising more time. “It was great to see Bryson Barnes is now 2-0 as a starter. He won the Washington State game last year and won this game.
“Cam has made progress, and that’s why we delayed and delayed. We didn’t want to make a decision until there was a medical decision. He’s been given more latitude just in the last 48 hours. He’s going to be able to practice essentially full-on next week. He hasn’t been cleared. They haven’t given the, ‘OK, you’re in,’ but he can practice with no limitations. That’s another step forward for him.”
Utah travels to Waco next Saturday to battle the Baylor Bears. If Rising is able to make it through a full week of practice with the Utes, it would seem he’d stand a good chance of making his season debut. Utah had hoped he’d be ready for the opener, but it’ll take 1-0 every time.
The defense played well to open the year, sacking Florida quarterback Graham Mertz five times and holding the Gator ground game under 100 yards rushing. Special teams — specifically Utah’s kicking and punting — was strong, providing the Utes with a significant advantage in field position.
If the Utes are able to replicate those same things against Baylor, perhaps they can make it 2-0 going home before a tune-up against Weber State.
“You can’t cry and whine about who you don’t have,” Whittingham said. “The guys who are in the game have to get it done and our guys did just that. Extremely proud of (the team). There (were) probably 8-10 guys who picked up the slack for guys who were missing.”