More off-season banter before game time in a month.

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      • #170498

        Ute Fan

        Things to look for out of Fall camp. More off season filler on the back stretch. Just pointing out some concerns as there are waaaay more positives going into camp.

        1. QB #2. Usually for Utah the battle in Fall camp is for who is the best of a group of QBs to be announced 1 hour before kick-off as if KW is hiding some secret weapon at QB. Good problem to have now with obviously #1 set and #2 QBs battling for who won’t make the most mistakes in Fall camp. At this point, if Rising goes down, Utah’s season takes a big turn. KW needs to stay out of offense decision making letting Ludwig call the shots.

        2. Injuries: I follow a few teams including Utah. Puzzling how Utah came out of last Fall camp with so many injuries. Last year’s Oline for example. Few other guys were banged up we found out about later.

        3. Starting sloooow. Utah at times early on looks like they are tired and play like they skipped pre-season preparation. Weber was hanging around, 19-10 well into the third quarter last year. I know Utah controlled the game. Similar performance not going to work against the gators. 

        4. Special Teams: Is Shah still running the STs? With his wife apparently on her way to prison will it be a distraction? One of my all time favorite Utah coaches so hope all’s good with him. No question something was up all season with STs. Losing the long snapper did not help. KO return and punt teams were a big part of Utah’s losses to Oregon State, and tOSU. KW sounds comitted to getting it all fixed.

        5. Can Utah play as the hunted? 

        Looking forward to see how the defense evolves, especially the LBs and who takes over the role of slot back to replace Covey. Go Utes!

      • #170502

        Ute Fan

        Nice post TG.

        We have typically started slowly.  However, when we played Michigan to start the season – we were forced to come out quick.  I hope to see the same at Florida.

        I worry about our special teams.  Shah has been a great CB coach.  However, he did not appear to do well with special teams.  Outside of Covery’s returns last season, the special teams did not perform well.

      • #170506

        Ute Fan

        My thoughts on these questions:

        1: I think QB2 will be Barnes. We saw in a very small sample size that Barnes is no slouch in the Rose Bowl, and I think he’ll get the nod as the backup and will act as a game manager. Last year it felt like they wanted to use Jackson due to his incredible athleticism, but the fumble in the WSU game seemed to relegate him to the bench (although I feel like he may have also been injured at points too?) If Jackson can’t make it work this year I think his ship as a college QB will have sailed. We also have 4* Nate Johnson and high 3* Brandon Rose vying for playing time. 

        2: You’re right about injuires, it was frustrating that we never really had a fully healthy o-line last year. Thankfully we have depth in most places and put the COVID season in the rearview mirror, so I think conditioning and health will be marginally better.

        3: The first 3 or 4 games last year were a pain to watch. I will be interested to see if the team goes into this huge matchup with Florida more energized, or if the Gators blow the game open in the first quarter due to us being unprepared. My prediction: if we win the turnover battle we win the game. Not a radical thought but still important.

        4: I really think people are downplaying the potential impact the Jen Shah situation might have. Shah is a great coach who I fully support, but having your wife go to federal prison surely has rattled him a bit. Special teams mistakes were brutal last year (aside from Covey) and I don’t have huge hopes they’ll be significantly better. Hope I’m proven wrong.

        5: Every year we see a nontraditional preseason media darling crumble under the weight of expectations. Last year it was Iowa State and UNC. Utah is primed for a great season this year, but we also could quickly fall by the wayside like those teams did if we’re not ready for the big stage. Knowing the leadership this team has, I think this might be the year we can excel as the hunted.

        Regardless of what happens, I am pumped for the season and am excited to see our guys back on the field. Go Utes! 

      • #170517

        Ute Fan

        I am hoping that we can work Jackson into regular rotations as a change of pace / wildcat QB. That forces defenses to spread their preparations as well as takes pressure and hits off of Rising. Also if Rising gets nicked up you do not need to replace 100% of the QB play.

        Injuries come and go. Last year the OL had people coming and going early which was awful but Brewer’s weaknesses played a big part on top of that. Thomas started the season slow due to turnovers. Those are three very big things we struggled to overcome early that will not be there as this season starts. Rising improved the offensive huddle more than fans can appreciate. We overcome all the losses at CB right up to the last game, now that position group has some experience.

        I am hoping and expecting the Utes to open up in mid season form.

        As for special teams, unless you have a really good ST coach on a roll, I like splitting these teams between two coaches. Punt cover and KO cover is a natural for a coach from the defensive secondary. Punt return and KO return is a natural for a WR coach. The line of scrimmage for place kicking and punting, O and D, need most of their coaching from their regular coaches. Kickers need someone with an interest in psychology. They need to be organized by a ramrod just like the O and D but can be split between two coaches.

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