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No one should wonder whether Morgan Scalley is prepared to become the University of Utah's defensive coordinator.

Scalley was ready for that promotion last year, when Kalani Sitake left for Oregon State, and he could only have benefited from spending a year with John Pease in the press box coaching booth. So this should be a very smooth transition for the Ute defense.

Scalley is so fondly remembered as a player from Utah's unbeaten team of 2004 that he seems younger than he actually is. He's 36, and has coached the Ute safeties full-time for eight seasons. In terms of years spent on the Utah staff, he's more qualified to take over than Sitake was in 2009 or even than Gary Andersen was in 2005. The same could be said of Kyle Whittingham, who had coached for a total of seven years (including one season at Utah) before becoming the coordinator in 1995.

The significance of this move could be registered in the coming years. Scalley now is positioned to become a head coaching candidate if Whittingham ever leaves, but that's getting ahead of the story.

In terms of the coming season, as long as Whittingham is Utah's head coach, he will have enough involvement in the defense to make sure it functions as designed by his father, the late Fred Whittingham Sr. Kyle Whittingham carried a call sheet on the sideline this past season when the Utes were on defense, and he'll always have to option of being as influential as he wants to be in the defensive operation.

Pease was a marvel to me at age 72, with his level of enthusiasm and energy, and the Utes performed well in 2015. Just the same, having a coordinator who's half that age should bring another level of juice to Utah's defense in practice.

Twitter: @tribkurt