Utah Utes Message Board

Trailgoat
6 10

Can KW break down some of the barriers?

I am not drinking the KA just yet. Having Moss and Huntley back is a major positive. There is amazing talent coming back on defense. To win a P12 Championship, Utah needs smart QB play and some sort of miracle improvement at WR. Utah football program is getting a lot of national hype right now. The returning talent and high expectations does not change the coaching barriers that have plagued this team under KW.

Same old road blocks Utes need to overcome to win a P12 Championship:

Petersen: KW is a good coach, not a great coach. History shows KW gets out coached against top coaches. Petersen has owned KW back to the MWC days when they were both Coordinators. Same story as head coaches. Can KW demonstrate he is one of the elite coaches?

WRs: Not sure why Holliday is still coaching at Utah, more to it I’m sure only from a fan’s point of view? The WR talent is MWC/WAC at best. WR recruiting has been awful. The Nacua soap opera and the non-qualifier kid were the only meaningful recuits that did not pan out. Good teams man-up and shut down Utah WRs. Not good at blocking either. Watch the UW games. Who has improved and who are the new guys stepping in?

Hunter vs. Hunted: Part of the good head coach thing. Great head coaches get their teams to play at their best under high expectations. Utes under KW flounder when expectations are high. Only a fan’s perspective of course, seems there is some sort of a mental block with KW playing as a winning program when the pressure is on. Depending on the BYU outcome, beating USC and UW on the road will tell us a lot?.

2-3 WTF losses: Under KW, Utes are good for at least 2-3 a year regardless of the talent. Last year, ASU, almost BYU and NIU (don’t tell me you weren’t worried until the Hansen TD), NW. UW and WSU, outcoached. 

OC Turnover: probably the root of a lot of the problems above. Talented offensive players are not going to sign-up for a program with the OC turnover Utah has been going through. Who knows if Ludwig will be around next year? Full circle, Ludwig was truly the last OC that consistenly showed offensive production. 

I know a few thumbs down are on the way. A lot of great things happening with Ute football, pointing out some of the frustrating things over the years holding the program back. Curious to see if KW can cure some of these demons with all the hype and expectations this year. Utah football has made some huge improvements getting some big national hype this season. Can KW take this team to the next level? This is a big measurement year with all of the high expectations defining KWs next level legacy until he retires.

Go Utes!

 

  • mfaulk80
    6 3

    KW is a great coach…not an elite coach.  Petersen is an elite coach.  

    I think you can blame the WR issue on the OC turnover (and lack of passing game) as much as Holliday…if not more.  It’s hard to say….for me anyway.

    I’d argue that KW only had one real WTF loss last year.  We were limping at the end of the year, and I’m not surprised we lost those games at all.  WSU was great season last year.  I don’t see how that is a WTF loss.  BYU and NIU were not our best games….but we won.  I’m not sure why you mention them in the WTF loss paragraph.  That leaves ASU.  On the other hand, we do have plenty of WTF moments/quarters.  Most teams probably do.  We obviously need to be better, and limiting these WTF moments is going to be critical for the season.  

    While we’ve had a lot more OC turnover than average…the average isn’t as long as many think.  I can’t remember where I read it, but I believe the average is under 2.5 years.  It’s obviously not ideal, and every year is ridiculous…but most recruts should know going in that they’re unlikely to finish with the same OC at any school.   I’m cautiously optimistic about Ludwig 2.0…but we’ll see.  

    Recruiting great QBs and WRs is a big issue…but the real answer to that is to continue to win.  This is an important year.  

    Our slow start to most seasons is also a big concern.  We need to come firing out of the gate.  If we start strong this year, then I’m optimistic that the year will be special (barring injuries).

    As I said above, we need to limit our WTF moments.  I don’t usually blame the coaching directly for most of those WTF moments (though there are occasions), but having a SR quarterback should help.  Leadership and experience usually help, and I’m optimistic that the team can limit poor decisions, etc.

    We’ll see.  Building a great team takes time, and seasons are never going to go perfect.  I’d argue that this is one of the most important seasons in Utah football though.  If we can have a season reminscent of 2004/2008, then I think this can push us to the next level (especially in regards to recruiting).  If we fall on our face, then we’ll need to re-evaluate things.  I’m cautiously optimistic. 

  • BD
    8

    I am not convinced the WR recruiting has been bad. Look at Bryan Thompson, a 3*/4* recruit and Solomon Enis a solid 4* recruit. Both are recent recruits with impressive offer lists. They are young, and haven’t had their breakout seasons yet, but I am expecting that this year. If they don’t end up being excellent receivers, then the problem is somewhere else, but not in recruiting.

    • Utesbyfive
      2

      I believe in Enis.

  • Charlie
    11

    I think some don’t realize how hard it is to get to the top of a P5 conference, particularly when you are new to that level. I think the list of schools that moved to that level and win it all is short? I think there are many P5 teams that would very much like to be in Utah’s position. Sure there is more to go but there is no reason be disappointed currently. As bad as it is, I don’t think Petersen simply expects to own Utah next year. I don’t expect that other teams expect to shutdown our WRs. Most observers expect Ludwig to be successful. Lots of things need to go right, but there is reason to look forward to next season. Oregon may turn out to be the biggest test. Possibly the other coaches have their own demons other than Petersen, likely he is hoping one does not show up.

    • PlainsUte
      1

      Exactly, everyone one wants to get there including several other programs with a lot more football legacy, geographical advantages and/or money.

  • noneyadb
    9 3

    Holliday is the reason why Enis, Thompson, and Covey are here. Holliday isn’t he problem. Covey considered not coming back to Utah after Roderick was let go.

    The reason why Utah hasn’t progressed is because of the same oline coach for the last 5 years. Utah QB’s have zero pass protection and struggle to get timing down. Utah will go as far as the o-line allows them, but it’s the same story every year with Harding.  Of course some on here will have the comeback… NFL, blah, blah, blah… but who is at the bottom of the league in throw game, sacks, pressures, hurries, and TFL’s allowed every year? Yep, Utah. It all starts with the big uglies upfront and how much time they can give their QB.  Harding will either earn his check or be in the hotseat by seasons end.

    • PlainsUte
      3

      NFL, blah, blah, blah.

      Seems to me Harding is doing a great job developing Utes for the NFL. If maybe the ohfense was more like the NFL, maybe the ohfense would do better. I think having a more old-school ohfensive coordinater is going to halp the Utes.

  • pedro
    14 1

    My counter

    Kyle has done more, for a mid-level program than any other coach in the country during his tenure.  That’s right, i stated that were were mid-level.  Because we were.  We are still consistently out recruited, which I do not blame on the staff and I will elaborate more on this later, and yet almost every year we are in the running for the conference championship.  Only three coaches in the PAC 12 have outperformed Kyle and that’s counting one who left, failed miserably and is back trying to build what he had before.  The only coach that has stayed and out performed him in the last 10 years…..  Stanfords.  

    Holiday.  He’s been at Utah three full seasons now.  EVERY year he’s been here our recieving recruit rankings have increased.  Likewise, with once exception, our receivers have improved.  People look at catches and yards.  While that is part of it, you also have to look are rushing yards.  EVERY sucessful run play is sucessful due to WR’s who put their ego aside, make the right read and block for their teammates.  WE DID NOT SEE THIS from 08 to 15.  It should also be noted that the MANY QB injuries we experienced over the past three years also make WR’s lives a lot harder.  

    Whit definatley has dropped some high level games when expectations were high.  But then find me ONE, just one that hasn’t?  Then find me those that have an undefeated years on their resume.  Then find me one who consistently gets his team to out perform their ‘ranked’ talent leve.  All of a sudden that list is exptremlt small.  yet Ute fans can’t see that and expect a NC every year.  Boggles my mind.  

    Finally the constant complaints on the OC and WR coaching in general.  We all know the history.  We all believe there have been mistakes.  However, how can we continue to complain when Whit has done everything in his power to bring in the best coaches and to find solutions to the problem.  If a guy isn’t cutting it, you have to cut him.  If a guys take a HC job, you can’t stop him.  If a guy is a cancer, you have to cut him.  This certainly isn’t ideal.  But IMHO, with the exception of the BJ hire which was a bad move, Whit has done everything possible to find the right guy.  People say ‘well he needs to go outside of his coaching circle’.  That just shows how ignorant fans truly are.  When you have coached in some capacity for 30+ years, most of the available coaches out there will have some connection to you.  Furthermore, chemistry plays a much bigger role in championships than talent.  Knowing and trusting those you work with is vital.  

    Obviously there are two camps on Whit and he has frustrated me at times as well.  But when you consider that:  We are in Utah, which makes recruiting harder due to the stigma of Utah being an all white state, mormons, alcohol laws, etc.  We only moved to a big boy conference a few years back and the new conference is one of the, if not the most explosive offensive league in the country.  I think we have and are doing fine.  Do I expect more improvement, yes.  Do I expect set backs now and again, yes.  One team, ONE wins the NC every year.  To do that takes incredible talent, incredible luck, extremely healthy players (also luck to some degree), great depth AND a great coaching staff.  That is a lot of variables and only some of that can be controlled.  If we keep pushing for the PAC championship (which we very easily could have won last year if one or two plays would have turned out different) I will be content with Whit.  If that changes, then we’ll have a different discussion on our hands.  Until then I wish Utah fans would be a little more realistic.  15 years ago we would have all shat ourselves at a shot to win and Pac championship.  Now we want to fire the coach because he got us in the running but we never have won it.  Think about that (and I know he didn’t advocate that, but a few have)

     

  • Stone
    3

    I think one thing that many fans forget is that there are a bunch of other schools (many more well funded than Utah) that also want to play in the playoffs and win national titles. Naturally, we want Utah to go undefeated and win a national title, but it’s not like every other team is sitting on its fannies, content with a bowl game. 

    Since 2000, there have been have been only 17 teams that have finished a season undefeated. Two of those 17 were seasons by Utah. The only other schools with 2 undefeated seasons in that timeframe are Ohio State, Auburn, and Boise State.* My point being simply that Whit and Utah have had some amazing seasons (granted, Whit was only an assistant in 2004). I want more undefeated seasons, I want an invite to the college football championship, and I want a Rose Bowl. But I am also really happy with Utah’s performance over the last 2 decades and am excited about the trajectory of the program.

    *There are obviously strength of schedule issues, but one can also counter that argument by noting that teams in the BCS conferences had better funding, facilities, and players. The point being, Utah and Boise State, although not playing a BCS schedule, were essentially competing against a level playing field in their conference schedules in terms of resources. So while those particular teams may not have gone undefeated against BCS competition, they also did not have the advantages of being in the BCS. Put another way, we do not say Clemson’s undefeated season is unimpressive merely because they would get slaughtered by an NFL team. Although the difference between non-BCS and BCS was not as great as BCS to NFL, the point is merely that they are on different levels and should be applauded for what they did at their level.

    • BattleGroundUte

      The gap is increasing with differences between P5 and G5. And even more so the difference between SEC and P5.

      It was interesting to see UConn’s recent move in abandoning football basically to focus on what they are good at. I also like to note many of these programs are operating at a negative budget wise while Utah is a profitable program.