Sharrieff Shah: I’m So Happy With The Level Of Consistency

Oct 5, 2022, 1:08 PM
University of Utah cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah during fall camp. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athle...
University of Utah cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah during fall camp. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY- Cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah is a stickler when it comes to details of the game, so it should come to no surprise that he constantly sees areas where the Utah defense- and particularly his position group could stand to improve. However, even with the details Shah still would like to see improved, he is also happy with the level of consistency with which the defense is starting to play at.

“Last week was really good,” Shah said. “Some aspects- obviously everybody saw the interceptions Clark had. There were some really good tackles that JaTravis had having seven tackles. There was a critical PBU by Zemaiah Vaughn- there were some really good plays, but because we coach, we see the bad ones. Those seem to stick out in a painful way because we leave good plays on the field. You don’t want to leave one good play on the field. They are too hard to come by, but overall I’m so happy at the trajectory and the level of consistency we are starting to show.”

It Was Always There For The Utes

Shah and the cornerbacks have always taken immense pride in play tough, man-on-man coverage. Last Saturday it paid off in a big way with cornerback Clark Phillips III snagging three interceptions- one a pick six, while safety RJ Hubert got his hands on a fourth.


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“There were multiple games where there were two to three different interceptions,” Shah said. “We just look at the film- whether people didn’t catch it, or it fell out of someone’s hands, or we didn’t recover a fumble. All of those timely, havoc turnover plays that we’ve left on the field. We just thought a performance like that- by a singular person was crazy to say, but collectively getting four turnovers, we thought it was due. We thought that we were poised to put together a good performance and I’m happy it came in that game.”

It wasn’t too long ago that Shah was dealing with a very new, inexperienced cornerback room, but they have developed quickly- specifically having trust in each other to help when needed.

“The level of confidence they have individually and then the collective confidence in your friend,” Shah said. “We have certain modifications in coverage that you can ask a friend to help. Years ago, we saw people doing their own thing. Now you are getting those modifications where friends are helping. You know that you are confident, but I’m also confident in the player on the field with me.”

Shah added that Phillips III has made a big difference in the room making everyone around him better, because his desire to be the best is so strong.

“Clark is phenomenal, bless his spirit,” Shah said. “He’s made other people in the room better. He’s elevated the play of everybody. That’s what you love as a leader, that’s what I’m seeing now. I’m seeing JaTravis tackle better, defend the deep ball better. Zemaiah is getting more and more confidence with every rep that he gets, and then the folks who sit in live, waiting for their opportunities are practicing better. Be it Faybian Marks, be it Malone Mataele, Cain Savage- you can go down the list, but I love just the level of comradery.”

While injuries are never ideal in the moment, Shah admits there was some benefit to his group from having to play guys who weren’t ready last year because this year, they are ready.

“Those reps last year- the cumulative benefit of those reps, we see right now,” Shah said. “Had individuals not gone down, we’d be that much further behind in the growth, development, experience, and trust the boys in the room are giving each other. It was huge. It was so untimely and sad, but beneficial, productive experience. All of it was wonderful because kids got to play and they never thought they would. It yielded tremendous benefits for us and we experienced a championship because of it, a Rose Bowl berth because of it.”

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