Spring Ball, 2022 Prep, Becoming a Leader and More!

Micah Bernard looks to build off a spectacular 2021 season where he was a vital piece in Utah’s rushing attack, passing attack and even their defense. Bernard racked up 523 rushing yards, 253 receiving yards, four touchdowns and led the Utes with ten tackles in the Rose Bowl. Micah caught up with UteZone this past week to talk about the start of spring ball and the team’s preparation heading into the 2022 season.

Q: How’s it been through your first week? In pads today, how’s it been getting back to work after the offseason?

A: You gotta love it, we’re here to play football, we love anytime we get to put pads on and get back out here and throw the ball around, everybody loves it, we’ve got a lot of new faces and I feel like we’ve grown as a team and have come closer, you gotta love spring ball.

Q: You’re a veteran, you’ve been around the block, PAC-12 Champion now, how is the approach different this year opposed to other years?

A: I think we set the standard, we always said winning the PAC-12 was the standard and we never achieved that, so now that we achieved that, we have to surpass that, we want to get above that.

Q: On the running back room, lots of talent, a lot of competition, what’s it looking like early on, how is your role shaping out and what are you seeing from the other guys?

A: It’s ridiculous, we’re all so talented and it’s crazy to see how good we are in that one room, there’s so many of us and we have so much talent, it’s going to be very difficult to try and separate because we’re all just so close right now, but me, my role is always going to be the same in my opinion, do whatever I can to help the team. I want to win another championship, I want to go to the Rose Bowl again, better yet, I want to go to the Natty, I’m gonna do whatever I need to.

Q: How’s coach Q? (Quinton Ganther) What’s the experience been like with him?

A: He’s sitting back, watching and critiquing us in the film room, but on the field he’s letting us be ourselves and I think that’s what you really need, just to let us go out there and play. We can go in the film room, we can talk about it all you want there, but on the field, we’re the ones playing. He takes that approach and it helps all the guys a lot, I’ve seen a great improvement in multiple backs, this approach is helping.

Q: What’s your approach as a leader heading into this season?

A: I’m not really a vocal guy, but being a vet here, so long, having a lot of new guys come into the program, I try to be open a lot more and tell them my experiences being here. This is my fourth year going on now. I’ve been here for a minute, I know how coaches work, I know how things work, I know what coaches expect, I just try to instill it in the younger guys. Like Jaylon (Glover), I’ve been taking him under my wing, I’ve been talking to him a lot and I’ve seen improvements from the first time he stepped on campus to now, so I just like to help out anywhere I can.

Q: What are your expectations for this offense?

A: Explosive again, you saw it last year, very explosive in the run game to open up the pass game and we can’t settle for anything less.

Q: How has Cam (Rising) developed as a quarterback since last season?

A: I thought he was comfortable last season, but he is so relaxed, everything comes second hand to him, he just knows everything and you don’t see it in his face, I don’t know, I thought he was relaxed last year but this year is a whole different animal.

Q: If you had to focus on one thing over the next week that you want to work on, either for the offense or for yourself, or for the running back room, what’s that one thing that you feel like your focus needs to be on?

A: I know the playbook pretty well, but I want to get to know the other positions like receiver, even O line, quarterback, I want to see what their calls are, so just tuning in on everything except for the running back room, because I pretty much know that, I just want to put myself in a different position and see if I know that too.

Q: How important is the film room to your development?

A: Very important, I go back, I like to see what guys do in practice and see how they do that. What do they see? What are they looking at? Why is this their key read, this and that. It’s very important because when I go out there, now I know what I have to do, it’s very key to be successful. I saw Devin Lloyd do it a lot and that’s why it’s very important, because I’d come to the facility around 9-10 o’clock, just to watch film because I had nothing else to do and Dev (Devin Lloyd) was always there, every single time I decided to show up. Seeing him, a guy like that, who’s draft bound take film so seriously I feel like I gotta add that to my reputar and take it seriously as he has.

Q: I’m sure you got this question a lot last week but how nice is it to be on the proper side of the ball?

A: I’m not gonna lie, I love running the rock, I love touching the ball I love being a part of this offense, but when you go to that other side, the dark side, you get a different feeling and working with Coach Shah was a good experience and if I had to I would go back and play, but I know where the right side of the ball is for me at least, it’s offense, but I wouldn’t be mad if I had to go back over there.

(Photo: Joshua A. Bickel, USA TODAY Sports)