Discussion in 'The Flashback' started by hornfaninbama, Mar 18, 2014.
Post 'em up.
Utes Look To Rebound
Young Talent Needs To Step Up
Salt Lake City, UT- Utah had a dismal start to last season, starting 1-3 before rebounding to win 9 straight and finish 10-3 (8-1). The Utes were resilient last season, succeeding despite the loss of a QB who was eventually taken in the second round of the NFL Draft, and playing a true freshman for much of the season.
This is the first season Utah will have depth in the backfield at the quarterback and running back positions. Matt Harris was thrown into the fire last season, and he performed well under the circumstances. He expected to redshirt last season, but the budding young star was thrust into the starting lineup and was able to help keep the winning streak rolling all the way through the Alamo Bowl win over TCU. Harris will get his first full season as the starter, but for the first time Utah will have quarterbacks of the same type backing him up. Courtney Wyatt is the #2 QB, and both are better than average runners. Wyatt has good speed, and is a good passer, and will be a serviceable backup to Harris. If Harris were to get injured he could do an excellent job filling in.
At running back Richard Lee will finally get his chance to shine after being the main back up to Troy McCormick the past 2 seasons. Lee is a redshirt senior and at 6'2" 229 pounds a tackle breaking machine. He's not a one trick pony though, he has good moves (88 juke, 89 spin, 95 stiff arm, 83 trucking, 93 break tackle) and decent speed (89 speed, 90 acceleration.) His back up this season will be redshirt sophomore Lui Silva. Silva is also a big bruiser at 5'11" 221 pounds, but he is a more balanced back. He has better speed than Lee (91 speed, 87 acceleration) and while he won't run through near as many tackles he does have comaprable moves (89 break tackle, 83 elusiveness, 81 juke and spin). Another redshirt sophomore will be the #3 back Steve Ross. Ross is the scat back of the group, and that term is used loosely. Ross is 6'1" 218 pounds, but has average speed (91 speed and acceleration) but has excellent moves (94 spin, 91 juke, 88 elusiveness). Ross and Silva are still fighting to decide the #2 role, and with Lee being entrenched as the starter the coaching staff may decide to pay a different style of back as the #2.
The wideout spot is still a position devoid of any kind of speed (from #1 to #5: 85, 89, 88, 86, 89). But they are all big sure handed targets. Andy Sullivan slides into the #1 WR role and the 6'5" 209 pounder will not drop passes. He had to have a surgical procedure to have his testicles fixed during puberty because he refused to drop his balls (99 catching, 97 spectacular catch, 82 catch in traffic, 97 route running, 91 release). Sullivan is big, and slow but may have one of the best sets of hands in the Pac-12. Peter Haley will be the #2 WR; Haley isn't as big, but he is faster and makes better plays in traffic (89 speed, 87 catching, 80 spectacular catch, 93 catch in traffic, 92 route running). Leroy Jones and former 5 star Eric Rivera will round out the top 4. Rivera and Jones are both posession guys, and neither of them will be toasting the opposition's corner backs anytime soon. Nick Coe is the #1 TE and is as dangerous a receiver as any WR on the roster. He has excellent hands (95 catching, 88 spectacular catch, 85 route running and 85 speed) and the speed to be dangerous once he gets his hands on the ball. He was second on the team in receptions and yards last season. He should be able to produce more of the same this year.
Utah has struggled to build depth along the offensive line, and took another hit when redshirt freshman Stephen Arnold transferred to Cal because of a lack of playing time. Arnold likely would have started the next 4 seasons, but chose to sit out a second year in a row instead. Jonathan Morris and Malcolm Clancy are going to be the starters at LT and RT repectively, while Greg Edwards and George Horne both redshirt. Clancy is a junior and should be returning next season while Morris will graduate and move on. Morris is an excellent all around blocker, while Clancy is a prototypical road grader. Jerome Carrington and Damian Harris will start at the guard positions Harris was a Juco transfer brought in to allow some redshirting to take place, but he will slide into a starting role this season. Carrington and Harris are excellent pass blockers, but struggle when asked to blow their man off the ball. At center Chaz Tolbert will get the nod, it's the first time in 2 seasons the Utes will have a standard sized center. The last 2 seasons a converted fullback started at the position and the 255 pounder struggled at times to hold his own in the middle.
Utah has been able to be excellent on defense the past few seasons, unfortunately they have also been able to be down right awful. Sometimes in the same game. There should be more consistency this season, but the defensive staff is still trying to decide on a 425 or 335 alignment and that decision probably won't be set in stone until just before their matchup with UCF. One thing is for certain, the defensive line will be filled with beef.
Bruce Palmer makes a move to the outside this season, the defensive tackle led the team in sacks creating pressure up the middle, and the coaches hope the 6'4" 329 pounder will be able to do the same from an outside position. Palmer doesn't have excellent speed, but he can really move for a fatty (68 speed, 84 acceleration) and when he gets his paws on the ball carrier they will go down (92 strength, 88 tackle, 95 hit power) and he excels on breaking blocks and getting into the backfield (99 power moves, 88 finesse, 89 block shedding). The starting defensive tackle this season will be 6'1" 342 pound Jonathan Walker (his buddies call him Red, except for the rich ones. They call him black) Walker will be getting his first significant action this season, and the massive athlete willmake it tough to move him off the ball (92 strength, 92 power moves, 90 finesse). He doesn't always bring down the ball carrier, but when he does it is with force (73 tackle, 96 hit power). At the other defensive end spot redshirt sophomore Greg Ross will get his chance to show what he can do. Ross is a homestate kid who dreamed of playing for Utah and the 6'3" 227 pound former will finally get his chance. He isn't the fastest, or the biggest, but he excels getting off blocks, and doesn't let the QB get away when he makes it there (76 speed, 80 power moves, 86 finesse, 83 block shedding, 86 tackle 86 hit power).
Returning freshman All-American Jamie Adams will lead the linebacking corps. Adams has aolid speed and wraps up well (82 speed, 90 tackle) and he does a good job getting off blocks and even plays pretty well in coverage (87 shedding, 74 man, 76 zone). Two juniors will be the other starters at linebacker, Antonio Alexander and Jason McKenzie. Alexander and McKenzie are both middle linebackers on the roster, but one of them will slide outside if Utah makes the jump to a 335.
At the corner spots two redshirt freshmen will get to start. 6'3" Greg Timmons, and 6'3" Will Stephens. Stephens is a pure cover corner and has the ability to develop into a lock down man cover corner before he leaves school (91 man cover, 84 zone, 83 press). Bookended by Timmons the Utes will have two tall corners who should be able to negate the deep passes. Timmons is fast (94 speed, 96 acceleration) and compliments that with excellent coverage skills (93 zone, 84 man). Four years of playing alongside each other should help these two become anchors for the Utah defense over the next few seasons.
The free safety spot will be manned by redshirt sophomore James Irby. Irby is 6'1" 213 pounds and will have the speed and instincts to play as a sole deep man on occasion. He was moved from strong safety earlier in his career and he retains some of his physical abilities. He will be coupled with 2 strong safeties, Anthony Kelly and Lance Hall. Kelly and Hall are seniors who will be able to keep the younger players lined up right, and make sure they are ready to handle the increased responsibilites.
Overall this will be the most talented team that Utah has fielded in years, and the most talented team Coach Jenkins has had in his short collegiate career. Utah has the talent to compete with anyone in the Pac-12 and possibly the country. Utah fans have been dreaming of this day for the past several seasons, and hoped that Coach Jenkins would be able to get them here. It looks like Utah is here to stay, this doesn't look to be a "flash in the pan" type team like Alex Smith quarterbacked several years ago. There is a solid foundation in Salt Lake City and Utah is ready to roll.
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