Asking five pressing questions as Utah heads into fall camp
5 Questions For Fall Camp: Offense
We know who the competitors are for the starting and backup spots, but what is Utah going to be asking from the quarterbacks in fall camp? What do they want their guy(s) to be? If simply throwing the ball is of utmost importance, Conner Manning and Adam Schulz are your best bets with stronger arms than the other guys. If they want a ridiculous athlete who can make play after play with their feet Kendal Thompson seems the logical choice. If they want a solid mix of both running and throwing, Travis Wilson best fits the mold. So what will the coaches prioritize as most important in the fall? Whatever it is will give hints as to who the likely starter will end up being.
2. Is the Offensive Line Any Better?
They'd better be, but if spring is any indication there's still a long way to go. There is more playable depth in 2014 than there was in 2013, but a lot of that depth still hasn't shown that they can be consistent Pac-12-level offensive linemen. The line has dropped weight as a whole, and that should help with both conditioning in the up-tempo offense as well as in pass protection. If that weight can stay off and the top eight or so can stay healthy and progress at a decent rate the offensive line could surprise some people. The answer to this question, however, remains a wait-and-see. We held our breath in 2013 hoping things would get better, but they didn't. We watched this spring looking for signs of improvement and were disappointed. This is a definite concern.
3. Is Kaelin Clay All That We've Heard He'll Be?
Clay has already said that he's the fastest player on the team, and that's pretty impressive considering how well guys like Hatfield, Freeman, Anderson, Porter, and Rowe can move. The incoming JC transfer only has one year to show what he can do but unlike some of the other junior college wide receivers that we've seen in recent years Clay shouldn't need much (if any) time to develop his game. If he's anything close to what we've heard, Utah now has another elite-level threat to throw in next to Dres and Kenneth Scott potentially giving them one of the top wide receiver trios in the conference.
4. Will the Up-Tempo Offense Keep Getting Faster?
Last year it was the "NASCAR" offense, while this year it's looking more like the "get to the line and snap the f&@k!%# ball as fast as you can" offense. The tempo in spring was much improved over 2013. Dave Christensen wants guys at the line and ready to go as fast as possible in an attempt to keep the defense on their heels. If strides are made from spring until now and they can keep getting better throughout the fall, watch out. This could be fun.
5. Will A Feature Back Emerge in the Backfield?
Devontae Booker, Bubba Poole, and Troy McCormick have separated themselves from the pack in the backfield, and rightfully so after all three had very solid springs. Booker looks like your prototypical every down back and should be even better than he was in March and April after a summer of conditioning, Poole is a do-it-all player, and McCormick is a threat to go the distance every time he touches it. Every one of those guys has the ability to be an elite Pac-12 back. Utah is as deep and reliable at running back as any position group on the team for the first time in a long time considering the depth and talent they have behind the Big 3. Dre'Vian Young has had some injury issues and carries around huge knee braces, but the speedster from Texas has as much natural ability as anyone else in the backfield. Incoming freshman Tavaris Williams is instantly one of the best athletes on the team. Regardless of who comes out of fall camp on top, or even if it's still a running back by committee situation, the Utes are set to do a lot of different things with their backs and have a lot of success doing it.
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