Asking 5 pressing questions as Utah heads into fall camp
5 Questions For Fall Camp: Defense
Coach Tuiaki has to be salivating at all of the talent and bodies he has at the defensive tackle spot, especially with the number of young players. The problem is that so many of them are young and while there is depth, whether or not it is playable depth is still an unknown. Sese Ianu and Seni Fauonuku get the early nod inside, but neither is the most talented guy at their spot. With Stevie Tui'kolovatu, Sam Tevi, Filipo Mokofisi, Lowell Lotulelei, and the ability to move both Hunter Dimick and Jason Fanaika inside, there's plenty of depth to go along with a few other names. Outside of Fauonuku, no one really has many reps. Someone will need to step up and show that they can be the next great Utah DT.
2. Will a walk-on emerge at linebacker to help with depth?
Utah is thin at linebacker, scary thin, not only for fall camp with Gionni Paul and Jacoby Hale out, but for the season with Hale not expected to return for a few months. Utah has a ridiculously talented front-line of linebackers in Jason Whittingham and company, but another injury to one of the rotational guys would be devastating. The Utes will need some sort of contributions from walk-ons in camp, and maybe they'll find someone that can help during the season. Tanner Larsen is already in the two-deep. Will the coaches be able to find someone new?
3. How will Eric Rowe's move to cornerback work out? Rowe jumped over to corner from safety mid-way through spring ball and the results were mixed. He's got great size, speed, and instincts, everything you want out of an elite cornerback. Pair that with the success Keith McGill and Utah fans should be excited for what could be in the fall. All that said, Utah's lack of depth at safety could force him to move back if there are any injuries as the cornerback spot has more depth.
4. Is Tevin Carter ready to go?
Tevin Carter is finally here. You'll see him in a Utah uniform. Seriously. The JC transfer missed spring ball while recovering from an injury, but is working out and has dropped some weight to get himself into more playable shape. Utah is thin at safety and he'll need to be ready to go and be everything Utah fans have hoped for in fall camp to help ease the coaches' concerns about their playable depth. Carter looks like an talent, but with only one year to play, he'll need to hit the ground running.
5. Is the 4-3 defense gone?
The standard Whittingham 4-3 looks to be a thing of the past as the Utes used the formation less than 50% of the time in 2013. With the pass-happy Pac 12 offenses airing it out over and over again, the Utes will use a lot of nickle and dime sets with 3 man fronts to get as much speed on the field as possible. Utah has the DB talent to counter-attack the offenses they'll face, but that means less linemen and linebackers. With Utah needing that speed and talent in the secondary, the 4-3 staple D is likely a thing of the past.
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