Last season when Hunter Dimick went down against Utah State because of a leg injury, he was sidelined for the next three games — one being Utah’s 62-20 win against Oregon. While that win was fun for the entire team, Dimick wished he could have been out there and was aching to get back on the field. He returned to play for a couple games, but Dimick thinks he rushed it, because the injury resurfaced, and as a result, he could not play the rest of the regular season.
He eventually made his way back onto the field for the bowl game and registered one sack, but through it all, he never thought he was going to have to sit out for that long. Neither did his teammates, and certainly not his coaches. Since then, he has been working on building up his strength to where it once was and is confident he can handle anything.
Dimick has put plenty of effort into the offseason so he could participate fully in spring practices.
“I’m 100 percent ready to go,” Dimick said. “It was way too long to sit out. Thought I could come back earlier, but then I hurt it more. Thankfully that process is done, and I’m good to go again.”
One thing that hurt during his recovery process was the fact that he could not help his teammates if they were in a bind. He takes a lot of pride in bailing out his teammates when they make mistakes, but he was forced to just watch certain events unfold right in front of him.
“That was hell, waiting on the sidelines,” Dimick said. “Watching some of your teammates struggle and there’s nothing I could do about it. That was pretty dang rough, so it feels really, really good to get back out here.”
Dimick has always been more of a silent leader, and he lets his play on the field do the talking. Going into his senior year, he’s going to keep that mentality, and the other players are already taking note and following in his footsteps.
He wouldn’t be able to name just one player who is improving this spring because he would rather read the entire Utah roster. He feels passionately that each person is making a contribution to the team in some way, and he wants to make sure they know it.
“You’re not going to hear me doing the rah-rah stuff too much, but if I see someone making a play, I’ll be the first one over there congratulating them,” Dimick said.
Often, Dimick is the one making that good play, and Kylie Fitts is glad to have Dimick back on the defensive line with him. He knows that when Dimick is rushing the passer, it opens up a lot of other possibilities for the defense to come away with a turnover. He already thinks Dimick is back to his usual self and trusts that he, and the entire defense, can only go up from here on out.
With so many departing seniors on last season’s squad, Fitts thinks Dimick has really stepped up and taken charge of the defensive line and is helping him better his game.
“I think we’re going to be as good, if not better,” Fitts said. “He’s really taken over the leadership role over the D-line and is helping me improve my pass rush and different techniques, so it’s nice to have him.”
So far this spring, the defense has been a few strides ahead of the offense. The offense is gaining some ground, but Dimick thinks there are still plenty of things left for the defense to brush up on.
During Friday’s practice the offense made it into the end zone one time, but aside from that the defense has been pretty sharp. Dimick is looking forward to how the team will look at the end of April and is sure it’ll make the same amount of noise as the one did last year.
“Everybody’s coming along, and it’s exciting to watch,” Dimick said. “Spring ball is where you figure out where your weaknesses are, especially this early. There’s a few things that everybody could improve on, but I think we’re all doing that pretty well so far.”