Utes Look to Rebound Coach Bulgy Looks For Spark Salt Lake City, UT- Last season was almost a lost season for Utah, an 0-4 start and a head coach missing from the sidelines would be enough to waylay almost any team, but last season's Utah squad fought hard, and came back to finish second in the Pac 12 South, win 8 games, and blowout of a Texas Tech team gunning for their ninth win in the Alamo Bowl. It wasn't the most successful Utah season, but it was a successful season. Coach Bulgy missed from Week 2 all the way to Week 15 for an undisclosed reason. The school and athletic department have declined comment, and Coach Bulgy has refused to respond to allegations he pondered retirement. It has been rumored that Utah is changing up their offensive attack and moving from a shotgun based alignment to a philosophy that favors Pistol formations. We can assume that when Coach Bulgy disappeared he did so for the express purpose of designing a new offense to showcase the talent he has brought in to Salt Lake City. Coach Bulgy says they have been preparing for this moment for a season or two, "I've been enamored with the Pistol formations for several seasons now, and I have wanted to get moving in that direction. The staff and I have spent lots of time over the past few seasons designing an offense that fits what we want to do within the pistol formations. And I think we have done that." If you were to look down the roster Utah has athletic quarterbacks, power running backs, and big oversized posession wide receivers. "We needed to do something to maximize our talent. We want our backs attacking the line of scrimmage and running behind their pads. It's tough to do that running sideways out of the shotgun." On offense Utah will choose between redshirt sophomore Courtney Wyatt and junior Matt Harris as a starting quarterback. Both of them bring a very athletic presence to the Utah lineup, and either one of them should do an admirable job leading the Utah attack. Harris began last season as the starter, but was replaced in the lineup due to an injury. And Wyatt played very well. The coaches expect these two to battle it out over the summer and probably won't name a starter until the first game. Utah has done an excellent job building depth in the running back unit, and you can finally see it coming to fruition. Utah will have 6 backs on the roster next season; 3 redshirt juniors, 1 redshirt sophomore and two redshirt freshmen. In case you're wondering why Coach Bulgy wanted his backs to get square and attack the line of scrimmage, simply look down the roster. Lui Silva is 5'11" 221 pounds, Steve Ross is 6'1" 218 pounds, Brandon Jackson is 5'11" 231 pounds, Ryan Morgan is 6'1" 198 pounds and Damien Berry is 5'11" 205 pounds. Outside of speed back Eugene Kilpatrick the Utes are big and powerful. Lui Silva will likely be the starter next season; he has improved every season during his three seasons in Salt Lake City, and next season he could be mentioned as one of the top backs in the Pac 12. He has the speed to be a game breaker and the size and strength to be a 20-25 touch per game back. The battle to back him up will be fierce though. Redshirt freshman Brandon Jackson has set off some alarms this season on the scout team, "He's a man child. If you're blocking his path, he's not going to go around you he's going to punish you. He's smoked a couple of our defensive guys and left their head ringing." Steve Ross and Eugene Kilpatrick will also be in the mix to be the pace changer; both of them are more in the style of finesse runners with excellent juke moves and Kilpatrick pairs that with outstanding speed. Both of Utah's top wideouts will move on this season, so there will be new faces on the outside for whomever the quarterback ends up being. Leroy Jones has been the #3 WR this season, and should be able to step up into the #1 role without any trouble. Former 5 star recruit Eric Rivera will slot in at the #2 position, and 6'5" 210 pound Bradley Carey will be the slot receiver. Carey enrolled at Utah last season, but the former JUCO All-American redshirted to save his final 3 years of eligibility and he will be a redshirt sophomore next season. The fourth wideout will also be a JUCO transfer, but John Brown won't be joining the team until this summer. Brown has electric speed, and will be a threat to take any pass to the house. Nick Coe and Jonathan Patterson aren't really wide receivers, but Utah will use them like wide outs and target them often in the passing game. Coe will return for his final season in Salt Lake City trying to build his resume for the NFL draft. Coe will need to have an excellent season to move up to the enxt level because he is far from being prototypical size. Coe and Patterson excel in the passing game and should both have solid stats next season. On the offensive line Utah will have some rebuilding to do. Starting left tackle Jonathan Morris, guards Jerome Carrington and Damian Harris and starting center Chaz Tolbert will all be moving on. At tackle Greg Edwards and Malcolm Clancy will take over at right and left tackle respectively. Both Edwards and Clancy are huge. Clancy is 6'5" 339 pounds and Edwards is 6'7" 340 pounds and they should have no trouble moving defensive ends out of the way in run blocking or keeping them away from the QB on passing downs. Both guards will have to be replaced and it remains to be seen what the coaches will do to keep the guard spot from dragging the offense down. Brian Green has comitted to Utah and he may get some immediate playing time, especially if Utah can't nail down Lionel Payne the #1 guard in the class, and currently weighing offers from Utah, Cal, Wyoming, Stanford, and Oregon. There will be movement on the line whether Payne signs or not. Someone has to play center and it will probably be a battle between Payne, Green, and Luke Ray to decide who gets the nod in the middle. George Horne will probably slide inside to either guard or center to give Utah a final starting five. The Ute's will have talent upfront but zero depth behind them. Utah has done an excellent job building depth on the defensive line, and that will finally show up beginning this season. Greg Ross and Joe Harris will take over at left and right end. Ross will be a redshirt junior sext season and Harris a redshirt sophomore. Antonio Burke and Tyler Riley will proved breathers for them, and the pass rush should not lose any potency whether the starters or backups are on the field. Defensive tackle has been hit hard this season, and the transfers that occured last season are really showing this year. Drew Williams will be the only returning defensive tackle, so there could be a shift down by Burke from DE to DT. Even if that position change happens rest assured Utah will be looking hard at the offensive line and defensive tackle spots this upcoming recruiting cycle. The linebacking corps will return largely unchanged, Jamie Adams will still start at one OLB spot, and Jason McKenzie will take over the other spot, with Antonio Alexander holding down the middle. Alexander and McKenzie will both be seniors and Adams will be a junior. At defensive back, the tall tandem of Greg Timmons and Will Stephens will be back to hold down the outside, only now there should be no shortage of quallified players to step in during nickel and dime situations and help the defense hold the line. Kellen Holmes and Jeff Randall will be the nickel and dime corners unless Mark Heinz steps up and shows he can play. Heinz took a redshirt this season, but he has the size and speed to be a very tough defender. James Irby will be back to lock down center field from the free safety spot with Lee Perkins behind him. Perkins will be the #2 FS, but may end up seeing the field a lot more as the #2 SS as well. Right now Kenard Godfrey is the only returning strong safety. Utah does have a commit from John Andrews the #8 strong safety in this class, but he needs some work before he can be counted on on a daily basis. They are also going hard after Antonio Bradford, but every day he doesn't choose Utah it becomes more likely that he will choose the LSU Tigers. This is a tough season to predict for Utah; they have talent in the starting lineup to match up with any team in the country. The problem lies in the fact that they have no depth at positions that take the greatest pounding. Defensive tackle and offensive line are bad spots to be breaking in new players with no one behind them. If Utah's piece-meal offensive line can hold up the offense should be potent, but if one of the starters goes down with a significant injury the entire offense could crumble. An improvement should be expected, but the Ute's could play better and have the same record as a season ago. I am predicting 9 or 10 wins and a fierce battle with USC for the Pac 12 South title.