Mora: 2020 End-of-Season Grades for Utah Football

With the season wrapped up, it's time to reflect on the good and the bad of 2020

Posted on December 22, 2020

Sammy Mora
  By Sammy Mora of Dash Sports TV for SportsPac12

Now that the pandemic-shortened 2020 season is finally a wrap, it’s a time to reflect on both the good and the bad from this young Utes team. Here are my end-of-season grades for all the Utah position groups.


 


—Offense—
Offensive line: B
Ford

This group had their moments. Their run blocking was really good just like in seasons past, but the pass protection is where the group seemed to struggle this year. The pocket either held up for a good chunk of the game or was non-existent from the jump.

But a special shoutout does go to Nick Ford who played Center for a good chunk of the season. He yet again showed off his versatility on the line and will make some NFL team very happy.

Tight Ends and Wide Receivers: B
Covey

I’m lumping these two groups together because they did the best with what they were given this season. It’s hard to catch a ball when it is thrown: (1) behind you, (2) over your head, or (3) to the opposing team.

Britain Covey was back and better than ever this year and it was refreshing to see him back to the video game Covey we’ve gotten used to.

But other than Covey and TE Brant Kuithe, this group was so underutilized this year. Yes, Bryan Thompson, Solomon Enis, and Samson Nacua all had touchdowns ,but at times it felt as if Jake Bentley was ignoring them or was too flustered to go through his progressions and see one of his WRs or TEs wide open past the sticks.

Kuithe and Cole Fotheringham had some key blocks this season and showed off their abilities to be tight ends who can block and also catch the ball.

Running backs: A
Jordan

Two words: Ty Jordan. He was by far the brightest spot on this whole Utah offense and he is going to have a long and record-breaking career on the hill.

Not only was he good from the backfield but he was one of the only other people Bentley felt comfortable throwing the ball out of the backfield.

Micah Bernard also showed what he can bring to this Utah team and gave the ground game a whole new feel when he was in the backfield.


 

Quarterbacks: D-
Bentley

This grade is me being generous. The only reason it isn’t an F is because of how Drew Lisk led the team in the final half of the season, and taking all of Bentley’s good quarters from the season and putting it into one maybe one full game.

Bentley had six touchdowns on the season, but he also had six interceptions. He always looked like he was flustered in the pocket and rushed a lot of his decisions.

My biggest issue with Bentley was his ball placement. He was notorious for throwing the ball (mainly to Covey) in the middle of the field and into traffic, exposing his wide receivers to a potential big hit.

We saw what Lisk was able to do for the team last week, so how would this team have looked if Kyle Whittingham and Andy Ludwig had benched Bentley sooner?


—Defense—
Defensive line: B+
Tafua

It wasn’t the Sack Lake City we have been accustomed to for the last few years, but the younger group was able to still get the pressure on opposing quarterbacks for a good chunk of the season.

Mika Tafua finished with the most sacks on the season with three, but those sacks did account for 21-yards. Hauati Pututau was also a huge part of the success of this defensive line with two sacks of his own.

Sack Lake City will be back with a vengeance next season.

Linebackers: A-
Sewell

Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell played out of their minds this season finishing as the No. 1 and No. 2 tacklers on the team, respectively.

While Lloyd was better at getting into the backfield and causing havoc, Sewell was able to get the ball back into the offense’s hands. They had moments where they were beat, but overall this group looked extremely solid.

Secondary: B-
Phillips III

They might have been young but they got the job done. The biggest thing that stood out to me from this group was the growth from game to game. The mistakes that they made versus USC weren’t around, or weren’t so blatant, by the time the final game came around.

Clark Phillips III, JT Broughton, Faybian Marks, and Malone Mataele are the future of this secondary, and it is going to be so fun to watch them ball for the next three or four years. It’ll be interesting to see if Nate Ritchie can come back from his LDS Mission in two years and be as impressive as he was this season.


 


—Special Teams—
Punting: C
Lennon

Ben Lennon had some good punts this year and then had some not so good ones. His long on the season was 47-yards and in the one game, he played Jared March, averaging 50-yards, and took a hard hit for the team, drawing a roughing the punter call. I wouldn’t be surprised if next season March takes the job from Lennon.

Kicking: A
Redding

Jadon Redding was perfect all season and his season-long 44-yard kick versus WSU last week had enough distance to be good from 50-yards. The kicking game for Utah is in fine hands.

 

 

You can watch Mora’s Ute Dash Sports Talk Shows on Dash Sports TV, and read her other sports articles at the Daily Utah Chronicle.







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