Ute Fan Board

2018 Season Preview – Oline and Running backs

The guys are working during the offseason with previewing each position group as the 2018 Utah football season is slowly on its way. 

On this episode Cameron, Ryan, and Scott breakdown the offensive line and running back groups. What players should Ute fans being looking out for and who are the potential starters?

Episode 105

Thlete
1

Puka Nacua to USC

I never really thought the Utes were gonna get this kid but it still sucks. I look forward to when local kids won’t need to go out of state to be considered big time, at least in their perception. Let’s just hope Samson goes undefeated against little bro. 

  • UteThunder

    As soon as Sampson tweeted that he hoped his brother would go to a better school than Utah, you just knew Puka wasn’t coming to Utah.

  • Trailgoat
    3

    Can’t blame Sampson for being honest about his own situation at Utah. Utah WRs in my short sided fan opinion are by far the weakest player group on the team. Last year, the current Utah players were not even close to the talent level of Carrington. Probably weak recruiting a result of all of the Offensive Coordinator turnover. Huntley’s biggest weakness next year will be what happens after the ball leaves his hand due to players who run crappy routes and routinely drop balls. Hopefully WR recruiting improves with stability at QB and OC. Go Utes!

    • ironman1315
      1

      Tell us how you really feel.

  • Duhwayne
    4

    Quick note.

    Watching reruns and Huntley will be fun to watch. Raw last year but he’s a baller. 

     

    That is all.

  • FtheY
    1

    Agreed. Let’s have him feed Moss and stay healthy. 

  • PlainsUte
    1

    Fall Football Camp

    Anyone know the start date for fall football camp?

  • gothamute
    4

    July 30th. Aka T-minus 42 days.

  • Sweetness
    7 1

    My three biggest concerns this year…

    I keep seeing so much optimism from everyone about this season but I can’t help but have the following thoughts/concerns: 

    1) I can’t help but think at some point Huntley will get injured and be out 3-4 games, and I have very little confidence in our backup situation. Last year it was a luxury to have Troy come in and win the Arizona and Colorado games for us. He struggled against Stanford, but outside of the botched two point conversion I thought he played really pretty well against USC. If that same situation happens this year, we could be in a world of hurt. I know a lot of people are high on Tuttle, but from my personal observation in the spring, I didn’t see a kid that could go out and win many Pac12 games this upcoming season. Maybe this point isn’t fair, as it is predicting something that hasn’t happened, but I feel like if it does happen it will torpedo our season. I think we’re a year away from having a good backup QB situation. 

    2) Our offensive line was really pretty bad last year. Everyone talks about how they came on strong towards the end of the year, but the level of competition in the games they looked good was way down. UCLA and Colorado were a mess. Washington state lived in the backfield, and we averaged 2.6 yards per carry against Washington. They weren’t great against WV either. I know we return four starters, but I felt like we had a bottom third pac12 line last year and the one guy we lost was probaby our best offensive lineman. I can see this group jumping to being average, but to expect anything more than an average o-line seems unrealistic. This also contributes to my fear of point 1. 

    3) This is definitely the smallest of my worries, but if we’re being honest unless Boyd and Covey have spectacular seasons, we probably have one of the worst WR corps in the P12…again. Maybe Bryan Thompson takes a big step forward, maybe Enis shows up and has the juice, but I haven’t seen anything from Mariner, Simpkins, or Nacua that suggests their anything but 2nd/3rd string on the majority of P12 teams. 

    I’m probably just being overly pessimistic, considering I do feel really good about every other position group. But I just have a hard time seeing a 10 win season when I look at our schedule. My prediction is another 8-9 win season like we had from ’14-16. If Huntley goes down for any significant period of time, I think we will be between 5-7 and 7-5. 

    Anyone else feel the same? 

  • BattleGroundUte
    6

    I agree with all of this post 100%. I used to be just like that as well. Until I realized that speculating about the painful s**t isn’t fun.  Football is entertainment and escape. I try to have a pretty realistic outlook on what actually happens with Utah football when it happens. I believe and it is fun to believe this that Utah’s ceiling is a 10 win season with a shot at a Rose bowl. You are right though if that s**t happens I think 5 is just as realistic. I also think I could get kidney stones again and really fear it but don’t like to speculate on when that will happen again. 

    What I am saying is a lot of things can happen to torpedo that 10 win pipe dream. I am operating on the assumption that for once Utah gets a little lucky and Huntley stays upright for a change. I am realistic about it and know Utah hasn’t had healthy a qb for like ever. This might actually relate to the oline as well. Also to the wr inability to get their ass open. Chicken and egg or it just might be Whitt who is at the bottom of all this. 

    I am really high on Utah’s backfield though. Moss and Shyne are going to be good. Moss really started to figure things out to end the season more than oline coming together. 

    • Sweetness
      3

      I like the way you think! And I will say going into 2008, i wasn’t thinking undefeated season and it happened. I also wasn’t thinking 8 wins in 2014, and then devontae booker happened. There probably needs to be some luck and maybe a surprise or two from a player we’re not expecting much from, but the fact that 10 wins is even a possibility is pretty awesome. 

      • BattleGroundUte
        1

        I don’t think it is unrealistic in thinking two things may happen. Huntley moves from middle of the PAC to top three qb in the PAC. Utah is very dangerous if they get very good QB play. The other is finally getting some luck with a healthy QB all season. Obviously a lot depends on that but I am opitimistic about it. If Huntley goes down I think a backup can come in and be solid enough to hand off to workhorse RBs for some wins. 

  • Ute Bc
    4

    I definitely agree with 1 and 3.  Regarding number 2 for some reason, I am not as worried.  Last year the offensive line was learning a new offense.  The did seem to come together and I think one more year with the same O will be huge. That combined with hopefully 2 great running backs should help a ton.  

  • Tony
    6

    Injuries are the one thing we can’t foresee. We can be 2-3 injuries away from a very bad season.  BUT the same can be said for any team.

    • PorterRockwell
      1

      I think we are past the days where one or two injuries details the season.  For the most part we now have PAC12 depth.  

      When Urban was here he said our 1’s could play with anybody and he was right. He said there was significant dropff with our twos and threes.   

      There is some drop off now but it’s not nearly what it was five years ago.  A kid goes down now and we have a capable backup behind him.  That wasn’t the case 5-10 years ago.  

      • Tony

        I assume you mean derailed. 

  • ProudUte

    Injuries at QB can mess up a season.  Just look at UCLA the last few years.  I really don’t know what to expect out of Shelley and Tuttle.  No one knows until they hit the field.  I suspect Tuttle will redshirt, making Shelley the backup.  I hear great things about him, but who knows if he can deliver.  Part of whay made 2004 and 2008 such great seasons were the lack of many season ending injuries.  If we want to win the South this year – we will likely need the same thing.

    I hope that are WRs step up.

    One big things with the Oline is experience playing together.  We didn’t have that last year and now we have that.  I suspect they will be much better this season.

     

    • Tony

      Shelley looked good in the spring game. 

  • PlainsUte
    1

    8-9 wins is not being pessimistic with this schedule

    • Utah
      1

      So much this. I think people are getting ahead of themselves with this schedule. I don’t think we fully realize how HARD it is. And how EASY USC’s schedule is. I’d give us a 1% chance of winning the south based on schedule alone. 

       

      • 1% idk about that. Zona, ASU and fUCLA are installing brand new systems. 

      • Puget Ute

        Wow.  They skip both Washington and Oregon.  This schedule is lining up nicely for the Trojans.

         

        Next year we have a relatively easier schedule (drop Stanford and Oregon, pick up Cal and Oregon State).

      • FtheY

        Utah – I haven’t looked it up, but it seems on par with 2015 when we beat ucla on the road and went 10-3, yeah? Or maybe it was 2014. Either way it was a tough year and we had an amazing season. I could definitely be off though. 

        Assuming the difficulty is the same, what drove such an amazing season? I remember good running back play from Booker and good special teams. Maybe injuries we’re light? Would it be unreasonable to think we could be in the same ballpark? We also had some lucky breaks on close games though, missed fg at UCLA, etc. 

  • ironman1315
    4

    My three biggest concerns:

    1) what kind of coat will I need to watch the parade

    2) Will my kids want to watch

    3) how long will I rub in this natty in BYU fan’s faces. I’m thinking 34 years should suffice.

  • rbmw263

    This year might hinge on harding developing the line. Given his track record I think the outlook is good, but you are right. The line was nowhere near good enough last year. Very poor pockets and not much running room against any DL worth a damn

  • 1) if Tyler does get injured, im pretty confident in our other two options shelley and tuttle with what we saw during spring practice. they’ll only improve with time.

    3) i feel like its all about experience. now that alot of those players have 1-2 years under their belts, they’ll be alot better this year. plus with a better QB, it can only go up from here.

    i guess im just optimistic because we are getting alot of guys returning this year? haha

  • Tony
    11

    Found this oldie but goodie I shot from 2015 – Utah stuffs Michigan on 4th and 1

  • rbmw263
    2

    God bless Gionni Paul

    • Tony
      3

      Defensive player of the year! Oh, wait.

    • He shot the gap and knew what Michigan was going to do the whole time. Such a playmaker.

      • rbmw263
        1

        He had 3 or 4 huge stops on 4th and 1 that year. He was so good.

  • So a run down of the schedule for the optimistic person

    You should win the first two. I don’t necessarily believe easily but we should see some depth in these first two games without showing your hand.

    Washington right into the best teams of the north. I think having this early is to Utah’s advantage personally. Especially because it is early at home. You win this and you suddenly get mentioned on national media a little more. Bye to soak it in and Whitt’s records on bye weeks is pretty damn good so sorry Leach you are a matchup hell usually but you lose. Losing your coordinator will hurt.

    At Stanford. Who the eff scheduled this season for Utah?  This is a loss,  I don’t see it going down any other way. If Utah wins this though they just put the South on notice.

    Arizona is a win easily I think to. Contrary to @Utah thinks the situation down there doesn’t worry me at all. They might not even have a healthy QB again.

    USC. The game to determine the south winner. Although it really hasn’t gone that way in the south. It usually is determined late in the year. You win this and you are back in discussion nationally after losing to @Stanford.

    Chip Kelly revolution in LA will be a tough first year so win here. He doesn’t have the type of players for the system he wants and he may help us out later giving UCLA an emotional win over USC.

    ASU. Haha please but this could be that game Utah should win but is the wtf loss we all get miffed about.

    Oregon another really good North team that Utah struggles with. Revenge in RES most likely going to be the blackout game. Utah has to win this and should.

    Colorado still too young to win but this game will  be ugly and Utah will win.

    Then the gator roll team down south. Win easily with talent don’t be fancy. Don’t play on emotion just overwhelm them with superior talent and send their fans packing in the third. We might see some fans rush the field or possibly trash being thrown and refs.  This game will be really annoying to watch and most likely end in a single score win. Even though it shouldn’t.

    The optimist right now says 10 wins with loss to Stanford and tripping up at ASU.

    Pessimist: Easily could be additional losses to USC and Washington resulting in 8 wins.

  • alharmon
    4

    I would be very happy with a season like this. This team has potential to be really good, but they’re still young. Should be a fun year to watch. Go Utes!

  • PorterRockwell
    5

    Athlon’s preseason magazine has us projected to go 8-4

    Finish second in the south behind USC and 28th in their preseason rankings.  

    Sounds about right given the information available 

  • chinngiskhaan
    1

    how exactly do we finish 28th in the preseason poll?

     

    Is that even possible?

     

    just kidding man. Eh… finishing second again would hurt

  • KiYi-Ute
    3 2

    Glad to see you back, Porter. 

    As a fan is supposed to, I get my hopes up every year thinking that this year we will break through and get to the Pac12 title game. We have the talent to do it this year, but the schedule is brutal. Luckily, we have a lot of the big games at home. Hoping that we catch a break or two and finally push through. 

    Go Utes! Can’t wait to be up at the tailgate this fall and get back into my seats!

    • PorterRockwell
      1 2

      Thank you KiYi  you sir are a gentleman and a scholar 

  • Utah
    4 1

    I’ll be honest. 8 wins will be slightly disappointing. I think we get 9 regular season wins with a shot at 10 with the bowl.

    Although I think we do finish 2nd in the south. Our schedule is too hard and USC’s too easy.

    Also, good to see you here. We need more of ya.

    • PlainsUte
      2

      At least it is better than the ESPN FPI that says 7 wins, 32nd place in pre-season FPI.

    • BattleGroundUte
      3

      If Huntley figures it out and Moss becomes the best player I see 10 regular season wins for Utah this season. 

    • Tony
      6 1

      I’m sticking with 9-3 come hell or high water.

      • Tony

        Not sure how that deserved a downvote.  

        • FtheY

          Maybe they don’t have flood insurance? 

          • That or fire. You never know.

  • ironman1315
    8

    Nuts to that. We going undefeated.

  • BattleGroundUte
    1

    Alex Jensen with a sort of promotion for the Jazz

    If Snyder gets kicked out of the game he takes over. Pretty cool. 

    FtheY

    2019 Recruiting

    What should we expect with 2019 recruiting? We’ve had some pretty good classes these last two years. 

    For example, last year we had a small class due to mission guys returning. Are there any other things we should be cognizant of? There only one I can think of would be that we might be light on linebackers this year due to the Lund and Bernard transfers. 

  • Utah
    1

    Another small class. What has happened the last two years will probably be our reality under Whitt. 

    Not a lot of commits until December. Classes ranked 25-40.