2018 Tradition Team Previews Fresh off of their 14-0 "Dream Season", the Utes are ready to get back out on the field and will no-doubt be looking to do it again. Utah has retained their #1 ranking into the preseason thanks in large part to the return of (RS)Senior QB Morvin Robbins. Robbins will lead a very similar squad into battle this season, but knows that it wont be easy as teams will surely be gunning for the defending Champs. Offense QB - It starts and ends with Morvin Robbins (6'6 231lb 93OVR). He is your prototypical NFL QB in the mold of Manning and Brady. He may be a statue in the pocket, but he has an accurate of an arm as you will see at the college level (99) and can really spin it when he has to (96THP). The Utes also signed QB Maurice Wright and he looks like a game-changer. He has the rare combination of mobility (86SPD, 85AGI, 87ACC) and a good arm (83THP/96THA), all in a 6'1 192lb frame. Wright will attempt to redshirt and take over the reigns next season as a (RS)Freshman. Walk-on Casey Rodgers will play back-up, but the staff has already said publicly that they would not rule out pulling Wright's redshirt if they have to. RB - Its always difficult to replace a Heisman winner, but Utah has been churning out top-flight running backs since Coach Max's arrival. Next in line is (RS)Junior Derek Cowan. D.C. is incredibly powerful for his size, and gets upfield with conviction. Cowan will start and be backed up by Reggie Romero. Romero made a splash his Freshman year, but the coaches approached him and asked him to consider a redshirt to help the depth chart. Romero obliged and now he returns as a (RS)Sophomore at 6'2 257lb. He will be the goal line back and see plenty of time in other spots as well. Rounding out a tough trio of backs is transfer Benny Blunt. Blunt is one of the fastest players on the team, and goes 6'2 222lb. Coaches will use the speedburner as a change of pace and perhaps in the return game. FB - True Sophomore Kevin Coleman will be the lead-blocker once again this year. He played extremely well last season and there is no reason he shouldnt be able to do it again. WR - (RS)Seniors Mickey Hadley and Derrick Green go #1 and #2 respectively. They both hover around 6'0 200lb and can absolutely fly. They may not possess elite ball skills, but both can kill a defense with speed. Sophomore Drew Smith will operate out of the slot this season. At 6'0 175lb he doesnt have the speed of Hadley and Green, but he makes up for it with better hands and by running crisper routes. Beyond the top 3 are a mix of bigger possession types and more 6'1 burners. To compliment Maurice Wright, Utah brought in 2 WRs as well. 2 of them will redshirt, while Tre Lane looks to make an immediate impact if he can find the field. TE - Its Tillman Time! Manny Tillman has finally emerged as the clear-cut starter and projects to be a force in his Senior year. At 6'6 255lb he is a load for anyone in coverage, and can throw some blocks in the running game as well. Tillman is a team captain and the emotional leader of this offense. Behind him on the DC is Brian Winston. Winston is smaller than Tillman, but a more technically sound blocker. Brian will see plenty of action this year. OL - The OL goes (OVR from LT to RT) 90-92-92-84-79 Obviously you can see where the strength of this unit is. The left side of this line will have to clear the way for runners and keep the pocket clean. RG John Anderson is strong as well, so dont discount Utah's ability to run inside or be prepared to take some shots to the gut. Utah brought in a Junior from the JUCO ranks to step in at RT. He looks like he can hold his own, but the Utes have bodies to spare if he falters. Defense DL - The DL goes (OVR from LE to RE) 90-91-91-92 Once again, the Utes field a threatening front-four. The ends are big, strong, and fast while the inside guys are just beasts. All have capable back-ups as well. This unit appears like it can be a strength for the Utes, and will have to play well for the defense to have success. OLB - (RS)Junior Ross Concepcion has switched sides of the field and seems to have transitioned well. He will see his first meaningful playing-time this season and coaches are excited to see what he can do at 6'4 226lb. On the other side of the field is (RS)Senior Nick Johnson. Johnson (93OVR) is a monster who projects to have the best season of his career. MLB - Losing Desmond Johnson hurts. There is no other way to put it. The staff has either slacked in recruiting Mikes in the past, or put them outside. These trends are biting them in the ass this year as MLB looks to be the weakest position on the entire team. After the Spring game coaches will know who will be their starter. At this point, it is between (RS)Sophomore Cody Lewis and true Freshman Kyle Martinez. Martinez is the taller, rangier, quicker LB while Lewis pushes 250lb and has been in the program longer. CB - A pet position for Coach Max, Utah corners continue to play well. The #1 and #2 guys are Senior Eric Nash and (RS)Junior Lucas Johnson. As a unit, these players all have a lot in common. They are all either 6'0 or 6'1, all have track speed (~95), and excel near the line of scrimmage. Good luck finding weaknesses here. Keep your eye on Terrell McNeil, the converted Safety. He is a physical CB who took his only INT last season 90+ yards to the house. FS - All-American FS Marcus Pearson is back for another tour of duty at FS. He has elite closing speed and snatched 4 picks last season. With his speed at 6'1 208lb he is almost like an oversized corner playing center-field. Pearson is backed up by Freshman All-American, Barry Miller. SS - If not for John Curtis' immense size, Coach Max would have a "Four Corners" Secondary. Instead, the Utes have 3 Corners and a Mack truck. At 6'3 217lb, Curtis has a penchant for devastating hits. He isnt some lumbering hulk either, the (RS)Senior from Georgia has top-notch speed as well. He is backed-up by Ben Lott, an under-sized SS who plays with a chip on his shoulder. P/K - David Davis will assume full-time punting and kicking duties. He was a stud at all the national kicking camps and has been drilling the pigskin in practice. PR/KR - WR Derrick Green handled these duties last season, but he is needed at wide-out this year. Look for youngsters and new faces in the return game. Benny Blunt will get a shot. RB Chris Johnson may also get a chance. PR duties might be a shot for Freshman WR Tre Lane to get some experience as well. Overview The Depth Chart has shaped up nicely this year with the exception of MLB. The offense once again looks potent and the defense looks fast enough to make another run. Utah kind of crept under the radar until their win @ Stanford last year, and I dont think the Utes will have that luxury again. Coaches and players alike know that when you have that #1 next to your name, you will get everyone's best shot and they must be ready to play every week. I see a 10-2 or 11-1 type regular season for the Utes this time around.