Micah Bernard emerges as the return of Utes

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Nothing has been made official, but it looks like Micah Bernard has become Utah’s best running back.

After a performance of 12 carries, 146 yards and a touchdown against BYU, Bernard appears to have regained the lead in the Utes’ ground game. But if he did, Bernard doesn’t know it yet.

“No indication at all,” said Bernard. “It’s up to the coaches to decide. I’m just going to keep playing the game. We’ve got a good group of guys and we’re going to keep working hard.

Bernard played a breakout game against the Cougars on Saturday, averaging 12.2 yards per carry and a violent rush.

“I wanted to go back to my old self,” said Bernard. “I felt like I was getting there. I still have a long way to go, so I’ll just keep going.

Bernard has come a long way since arriving in Utah in 2019 as a 17-year-old freshman. After a red shirt year, Bernard ran 76 yards in 15 runs in an abridged 2020 season.

Bernard may have been an afterthought for many Utes fans this season after Chris Curry transferred from LSU, TJ Pledger from Oklahoma and Tavion Thomas from Cincinnati (via junior college). But through two games, Bernard was Utah’s most productive running back.

“I’m incredibly proud of Micah,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “He grew up before our eyes. When he arrived here he was a very young high school student. He has matured and developed a tenacity and consistency about himself that is admirable. Now he’s reaping these rewards.

“They were just grown men, you know?” Bernard said about his first season. “I was still 17 years old, just a little kid coming out of high school. I was young in high school too. It was just a lot of grown men. I saw a lot of people 24, 25, and it was a different feeling.

As Thomas continues to have fumble issues and Curry and Pledger struggle to find playing time, Bernard appears to be in the line for the majority of postponements going forward. He says he will only get better as the year goes on.

“I went back and watched the movie last year, and got so much better,” Bernard said. “I can literally see that on the movie that I changed from year to year. I can only improve myself.

Attending high school just 20 minutes from where Utah faces San Diego State this Saturday at Dignity Healthy Sports Park in Carson, Calif., Bernard will have plenty of family and friends at Saturday’s game against the Aztecs.

“I have a lot of family members who come,” said Bernard, who attended Gahr High School in Cerritos. “So I have to dress for them. My family called all last week, and we just talked about the game. But it’s gonna be cool to have them in town and play in front of them.

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