Cautious optimism for this team’s future

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      • #154413

        Ute Fan

        I don’t know why some are so doom and gloom about barely losing to OSU on the road. OSU is a good team, if we somehow make it to the CCG (not at all out of the question, we were two plays away from winning that game fellas, relax!), and we play OSU again on a neutral field, I think we can absolutely win that game. If we execute better, adjust the gameplan on defense, and improve our defensive health, I think we would win a rematch with relative ease.

        We definitely have reason to be optimistic about the future of this team, both this year and in years to come.

        Rising is better now than Huntley was at this stage in his career… or at least very similar… No, I’m going to stick with BETTER after reviewing their statistics. Rising has the benefit of OC stability. He has thrown 11 TDs so far, Huntley had 15 his sophomore season. Rising has only thrown two picks (both in one game). Huntley had TEN his sophomore year. Rising has a better QBR. Rising is more efficient even without the benefit of a transcendent RB like Moss.

        He could easily be the best QB in the Pac12 in a year or two if we develope the talent around him. This is where the cautious part of my optimism comes in. Rising will almost certainly be our best QB since joining the Pac12, but the talent around him is still largely unproven. What happens to our passing game when our tight ends move on? At best we have any one of the three for one more year after this one, then what? Covey will be gone also. Vele does have the ability to catch balls in traffic, but I’m not convinced that he has the ability to be our go to receiver when we NEED a play.

        We could really use an elite running back right about now. I’m sorry, but Thomas just isn’t that guy. He’s fine. He’s big, but he doesn’t come anywhere near comparing to Moss favorably. Thomas is unreliable. We cannot count on him to gain yards, he isn’t explosive through holes, and he doesn’t have great speed. He is serviceable, that’s about it. If he can improve this offseason he may be that guy, but right now he’s just an average Pac12 running back TBH. If we are going to keep defenses off of our below average receiving talent, we NEED NEED NEED a top flight running back. I think Glover could bet hat guy, but that could be a few years away.

        Our offensive line should be fine so long as Harding can keep his head on straight and not screw around with the lineup for the millionth time in the last couple of years.

        Defensively we have a ton of potential, but a lot to sort out. If we have a couple of guys emerge as team leaders, and we can stay healthy, we have the makings of our best defense ever IMO. We need our defensive tackles to be better at plugging run gaps. They are young so this should improve as they put on weight and gain strength. Our DEs are going to be elite. We have a ton of talent at LB, but I’m a little concerned about why that talent has been surpassed by a below average athlete in Reid. We have a lockdown corner in Jatravis Broughton, and a mini lockdown corner in Phillips, who is limited in what he can do because of his diminutive stature. We also have a ton of potential at the safety position.

        Really, the biggest missing piece to this team being elite in the next year or two is a dependable kicker and punter combo. Noyes has been pretty good, but not much better than Redding. Peasley might be the least athletic person to ever set foot on a football field. WTF dude? Can you even run?

        ** I sometimes wonder if it would be more effective for the second level of blockers on punts to just link arms red rover style and form a wall in front of the punter. It seems like that would at least prevent guys from immediately getting through our blocking, forcing them to go around, and hopefully giving our punter time to kick the ball.

      • #154419

        Ute Fan

        Fans have had legitimate gripe about our offense for years.  Now good offense arrives and some freak out because we have happen to have an average defense on the field for the first time in a long time.

        I am also optimistic.  

        We have Rising for another two years.  We arent losing much talent or experience on offense next year.  Next year’s offense could arguably be better, even without true blue chip talent.

        Defense is young but the raw talent level keeps getting higher.  We now have multiple blue chips on the defensive roster.  With Whit’s defensive development history it would actually be surprising if the defense was not significantly better next year.  Its very likely not going to be worse.

        Special teams often regressses to the mean.  It really cant get any worse.

        We also havent had too much turnover luck this year.  This can also improve.

        • #154443

          2008 National Champ
          Ute Fan

          I don’t think Rising stays for two more years. He is eligible for the draft after this season. Best case for Utah is he finishes off this season, comes back for one more and lights up the league before getting drafted in the 3rd round.

          Heck, if I thought Jackson or Costelli were ready, I would be rooting for Rising to finish this year off as 1st team all-Pac and declare during the bowl game post game presser. Having the same QB for 3 seasons really screws up the depth chart. If you don’t provide opportunities, you’ll keep losing them to the Portal.

      • #154423
        4 1

        Ute Fan

        I am very optimistic.  Saturday our Freshmen D-tackles got bullied by a nasty, experienced offensive line and they had a bigtime back running behind them.  It happens.  Those players have shown a lot of upside but need time to become grown men.    

        The offense has been borderline “fun” the last 3 games.  It could turn into the 40 point a game juggernaut that we all dreamed of if it keeps progressing.

      • #154433

        Ute Fan

        Not to worry. Realize there are 11 other teams in the conference with as good or better resources that are driven to win conference games. We don’t stand out and above the other 11. The conference will always be a fight every week for us. The southern division champ seem to always have a loss or two, we can’t become discouraged by our first loss. If we win Saturday we are positioned better than anyone else in the division.

        Don’t compare our RBs to upperclassman Moss. If you compare them to new in the program Moss, they are also on schedule. Likely 1 will move into the primary position just as Moss did. It is best to still have someone else take a third of the snaps to keep RB2 ready and RB1 fresh in the 4th. This year feels just like other years when we were sorting out to RB1.

        We have CBs but we need a lockdown corner and two others since we often play 3. We are close but I think this position is a key recruiting need. We need to develop another to go along with Phillips.

        I don’t know what become of our preseason Pac place kicker. We need to settle that more but it is not killing us. The punt block needs work but it is quite fixable. We need to practice and recognize when punt block is shown with 10 on the line. Max protect thru until the kick, have a call to kick to a sideline, let coverage wait one or two seconds, and then kick high to force a fair catch. When we have had a problem, it is not so much getting beat, it has been more coming than blocking. The shield should never see 4 rushers. Can’t link arms, that quickly becomes holding, but tighter splits gets you what you are looking for.

        The DL is settling in and in good years still does not dominate 9 games. OSU’s running game is the best in the conference so I am not shocked to see the game become a teaching moment. We handled ASU’s run game, now we need to learn and handle UCLA’s run game. Lloyd leaves a big hole when gone, it is hard to fill that hole in the middle of a game. The LBer stock is very good and Reid will prove to be much better than so many expect. Hopefully, we have a 4-3 set of LBs to go for the first half, I will be curious to see who that will be.

        • #154445

          Ute Fan

          I think broughton is a lockdown corner. He is hurt, but was playing better than Phillips prior to that.

        • #154446

          Ute Fan

          Also, the red rover thing was a joke.

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