some thoughts and perspective on growth or decline

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    • #19955

      Ute Fan

      Think back to the end of 2012 when we were pleading for offensive stability so we could go to bowl game again.  A lot of people were preaching to stop the OC carousel to let TW1 have some stability so he could grow.  2013 comes around and we were a lot better but still finished 5-7, no bowl.   Again a change at OC.  Now 2014 comes and we breakthrough but close losses to WSU and ASU mean we can’t take the south but we also got woodshedded by Oregon and arizona.  2015 everyone says this is the year, TW1 is a senior, the defense is great and we can win the south but again we drop an OT to arizona and a offensive ineptitude against UCLA loss to lose the south.  But we also got woodshedded at USC.  This year everyone begins the year saying we need to be patient, too many changes in the offense players mean it will be a step back.  Then we start off 7-1 and we have modified our hopes to be a possible south champ again but low and behold we go 1-3 to finish and it slips away again. 


      I agree with a lot of other posters that the Offensive playcalling and execution is too predictable down the stretch and that is why we can struggle in november.  But I don’t think this is the year to shake things up in the offensive staff.   We improved in a lot of areas when people thought we would take a step back.  We have a lot of young offensive players on the team that will grow from this year.  I also wholeheartedly believe we need a dedicated QB coach that has played and coached in D1 ball.  


      When the dust settles the numbers that were acheived on the field also can help me gain perspective.

      Offensive scoring through 12 games

      2011 -25.0

      2012- 26.7

      2013- 29.2

      2014  -30

      2015  -30.6

      2016  -30.2

      pass yards/game

      2011- 173


      2013- 236

      2014- 197

      2015 180

      2016 – 216

      rush yards/game

      2011- 137

      2012- 133

      2013- 160

      2014- 190

      2015- 183

      2016 -210

      defensive scoring

      2011- 20.2

      2012- 25.1

      2013 -28.0

      2014 -24.9

      2015 -22.3

      2016 -23.9

      total margin of points in losses

      2011- 75 

      2012- 98 

      2013 – 73 

      2014- 60 

      2015- 33

      2016- 19 

      SOS- alot of people argue that this was the year to win because the schedule was so favorable in the south even though we had 3 top 15 teams, 2 of which were in our division.  That is not an easy schedule by any means.

      2011- 49th SOS

      2012- 41st

      2013- 3rd 

      2014- 36th

      2015- 28th SOS

      2016- 35th SOS

      Total points for/against

      2011- 325-263

      2012 320- 301

      2013 350-336

      2014 360-314

      2015- 363-262

      2016- 362-287


      This season is exactly what it was anticipated to be and shouldnt be cause to throw everything out and start over. 

      Arod had the best passing game production we have had since 2013.  This was also the best run game we have had since we entered the pac12.  Team scoring is stable ber the past 3 years and the defense is only a little bit worse than last year which was our best year.  This was all done against a very similar level of competition. 

      Changing now to a brand new system is not the answer.  The young players on the team need consistency.  I truly believe we can make up those 19 points that kept us out this year and get to our first pac12 champ game.   This team was young in a lot of key positions that will be better next year and will have us in the hunt for first again.  We all knew coming into the season the LBers would be a liability but yet the defense still did their job in every game to keep it within reach.  This is the first year in the pac 12 we have not had a blow out loss.  This year is very similar to 2013 when everyone saw there was progress but the record was the same as 2012.  We are, overall, a better team than we were the past two years and had growth on the offensive side of the ball but it was not enough to get us over the hill.  Next year we will grow again and be ready to compete for first.  

      Next years returning class will be difficult to deal with.  

      QB- Twill and huntley in the wings

      RB- armand shyne, moss, Mccmormick (if he can stay healthy for season)

      OL- bolles, barton, falemaka, uhatafe, 

      WR- fulks, gonzalez, repp, handley, simpkins, wilson, smith, young

      DL- this could be the best line we have ever had, bradley anae looks like the next beast on the line, fitts, hopefully lowell, mokofisi

      safety- fogal looks great in a lot of plays and only got bned once in the ucla game on a bad angle, chase hansen looks great and will be better and hopefully marcus williams

      DB-godfrey, boobie, this will be our thinnest area of experience next year but scalley and shah keep filling in the gaps and we seem to have the talent here to keep reloading  

      LB- defensive barton will be better, tauteoli will improve, luafatasaga had a lot of great games,  and thompson looked like a beast when he came in the past few games, I bet he will start next year. 

      and wishnowsky

      That is a killer team that is set up for next year. 

      I think we need to keep the system and improve the performance.  The coaches over the past three years have stayed about the same on defense and scalley was not a big drop off compared to last year inspite of peoples perception.  Arod/harding actually had the best year in terms of yardage gained since we have been in the pac 12 and are making things better but not in leaps and bounds.  We don’t need to go from worst to first like colorado we need to tweak a few things, GET A QB coach and install a better red zone offense and we will win the south next year.  All of those things are attainable without wholesale change. 


    • #19956

      Ute Fan

      Thank you!!!! I am off the ledge.

    • #19960

      Ute Fan

      This might be the best post I’ve ever read on a Utah message board.

    • #19961

      Ute Fan

      Upvote a 1000 times if I could.

    • #19962

      Larry B
      Ute Fan

      Very good post! Looking at who we have returning next year, I’m a little more optomistic. The problem is that USC will be very very good next year and UCLA has the talent to be very good.


      As far as a QB coach goes, Scott Mitchell has expressed a lot of interest and I think he would do very well. I really enjoy listening to him on ESPN700.

    • #19965

      Ute Fan

      Well written. Thank you for your positive perspective. Very needed by every Ute fan right now.

    • #19969

      Ute Fan

      Lots of good details. Good to see some people still positive although I am not one of them. I think the biggest trend you can look at cuts across all the variables and season to season rosters and that is the Utes disproportionately poor in November vs. Sept and Oct. At some point this has to fall on the coaches. Also although I appreciate the data set above, history shows your thinking may be a bit to linear in extrapolating from year to year. How do you explain Colorado this year? You wouldn’t have predicted it if you looked at a similar data set for Colorado over past 5 years or any of the Pac 12 south winners since we joined the league. Would be nice to get the monkey off our collective backs and win this sucker next year – but I wont hold my breath.

      • #19986

        Ute Fan

        I am just as frustrated as the next fan but I think there’s been growth.
        And I agree that not a lot of people saw colorado winning the south but everyone that watched them play last year knew they would be a lot better this year. They lose a lot of seniors though and will likely be a little worse next year while I think Utah will be a little better.
        Also winning the south doesn’t mean a lot to people since last year we tied for first in the south but lost the tie breaker. We want to go to the pac12 champ game and win it. We also don’t want to back our way into the rose bowl. Thats my expectation and I think its a lot of other fans expectations also, but realistically that is very hard. NO SOUTH TEAM HAS PLAYED IN THE ROSE BOWL SINCE THE PAC12 STARTED. Only oregon and stanford have gone. IF colorado beats washington that would they made it before USC, UCLA, ASU, UA and utah. If Washington wins then they will likely go to the CFP and colorado will fill in to the rose bowl but not win the pac12 which no south team has done.

        The pac12 south is literally one of the hardest divisions in football and have been up against teams from the north that are competing for the national championship so no south team has ever won the Pac12. Every team in the south is frustrated and trying to figure out the kinks so they can also get to the rose bowl as a pac12 champion.

        I personally believe there was growth this year in a lot of areas. Twill was 2nd in long pass plays which is something we all begged for was an explosive long pass game. We had that this year. Jwilliams was 2nd in the pac in long runs and 2nd in total yards. This is the best offense in terms of yardage that we have ever had in the pac12, but we sucked at getting the ball in the endzone. Erickson/whitt/arod/harding can fix the redzone issues without throwing out the entire offense and starting over.

        I think this staff needs a QB coach and a new set of plays in the redzone and short yardage but that doesn’t require changing out the entire offense. We are very close to where we should be this year and it wasn’t a bad season it just wasn’t great like we all want it to be.

        If this staff can’t make those redzone changes and get us to the title game in the next 1-2 years then I agree it would be time to start over on offense.

        Also this defense was just as good as previous teams.

    • #19971


      Our single greatest problem has been the failure to recruit top drawer talent at QB and develop it. Since being in the PAC 12 we have yet to find that instant difference maker ala Sam Darnold or Jake Browning. Instead we suffer with lower tier PAC 12 level QBs and the coaching staff is incapable of developing them.

    • #19973

      Ute Fan

      I’m anticipating Bolles will be gone at the end of the year.

    • #19985

      Ute Fan

      This post makes me feel better. I am willing to give the current staff more time.

    • #19995


      Great Breakdown but I have one question? As I understand it Per NCAA rules, a team is allowed one Head Coach, nine assistants, four graduate assistants, and five strength and conditioning coaches

      Excluding GA’s and Strength Coaches there is 

      Kyle Whittingham, Dennis Erickson, Morgan Scally, Shariff Shaw, Justin Ena, Lewis Powell, Guy Holliday and Jim Harding Who I believe are all safe within ther current positions.

      That leaves Roderick and Fred Whittingham who was brought in to be a Recruiting Coordinator over a position coach. So  with that being said it is one of those two who are expendible to bring in a new QB coach. So I don’t think you can have your cake and eat it too, by kkeping both of those guys. So one of these coaches will have to be let go. So my question to you is who do you fire?  




      • #19999

        Ute Fan

        Depends on the OC. If for continuity’s sake you promote Harding to full OC (probably what will happen) that puts Harding in the booth necessitating hiring an O-line coach for on the field. Harding can take TE group in addition to OC (natural extension of O-line coach). You can go with a less experienced O line guy with recruiting ability (ex-NFL and Polynesian would be great for an offensive staff that collectively lacks those attributes). Then you still need a QB coach. This has to be a spread guy; no Scott Mitchell.

        So two need to be taken off the coaching roster. Fred can move back to behind the scenes and ARod can be let go or given a “quality control” type non-coaching job.

    • #20232

      Ute Fan

      I’m one of the biggest Utah homers of all and I thought that Thompson was the answer for Barton until it happened in the Oregon game once Barton got injured. During that last quarter Thompson was in the game and he was exposed on the TE pass down the middle and he was also exposed in the run game. He should of went to the outside shoulder of the QB when he started running to push him back to the flow of the defense for a minimal gain instead he tried to shoot a gap and he missed giving up 30 yards and there for giving Oregon a real shot to throw to the end zone. These small mistakes happen and it sucks that they do. What we need at the U are solid LB like Walker, and Martinez. Tackling machines that took proper drops in pass coverage and proper angles for containment tackles.

      I’m super interested to see if Hamilton is a player.

      Looking over the recruiting for the past few years, every player that is listed at the top of the class has rarely panned out (except this year.)

      Top 5 recruits
      Bolles ( NFL potential)
      Laufatasaga ( played and started a bunch of games)
      Tupai ( redshirted?)
      Huntley ( back- up)
      Henry-Cole (burned his red shirt for a 2 yard carry)
      Thomas Mcdonald ( Not on the team)

      Bottom 5
      Shyne (played and started)
      Anae (played 1 sack)
      Thompason (played)
      Peck (redshirt?)
      Fotu (played)

      Top 5
      Butler byrd ( ok not awesome season)
      Carter Deniko (not on the roster)
      Paulo (played on Special teams)
      Fulks ( potential with no hands)
      Hekking ( status ?)
      Marcel Brooks -Brown (7th string and left the team)

      Bottom 5
      Ahmad Christian (never played)
      Joseph Williams ( 1178 yards in 8 games)
      Tyrom smith ( 1 TD may move to DB see Colorado game)
      Britain covey ( lead team in rec yards left on a mission)
      Kendall Huey ( left the team)

      Top 5
      Lotulelei ( NFL type of player)
      Law ( never enrolled)
      Singleton ( solid contributing Sophomore)
      Godfrey ( played spearingly)
      Tavaris Williams ( left the team)

      Bottom 5
      Tevin carter ( started both years)
      casey hughes ( played on special teams for 2 years injured in the UCLA game)
      Bobbie Hobbies ( played in almost every game key special teams contributor)
      Khyiris Luavai ? on status
      Thor Katoa ? on status

      top 5
      Lotulelei again
      vaenuku ( died on the way to campus)
      shepherd ( never played)
      Andre Lewis ( played sparingly)
      Davion Orphey ( major contributor)

      Bottom 5
      Moeai (multiple year starter
      Mokofisi ( multiple year starter)
      dominguez ( 4 year starter)
      marcus williams (left the program)
      Troy McCormick ( solid contributor when healthy)

      It is interesting to see how these recruiting classes come together and I love it. However, I hope that the guys (the coaches) can find kids that want to play and can play. I’m done with the hype train.

      Here is the starting defense on the Sugar Bowl Team:
      Kruger 2 star NFL Player
      Newman (no info)
      eliopo ( 2 star) Played in the NFL
      Koa Misi ( 3 star ) NFL player
      Derrick Shelby (2 star) NFL player
      MIke wright (no info)
      Sylvester 2 star Played in the NFL
      Kep Gaison (no info)
      Rj Stanford (3 star) Played in the NFL
      Joe Dale ( 2 Star)
      Robert Johnson ( 3 star) Played in the NFL
      Brice McCain (2 star) NFL Player

      I know Utah will do the right thing with recruiting and the coaching staff. I believe Troy will be able to had a quick passing game to the deep ball’s and I believe our Defense will get back to playing fundamental football (like 2008)

      we were 8th in the country in turnovers created at 2.4 per game
      offense was 35 in the country at 400 yards per game

      we were 3rd in the country in turnovers created at 2.3 per game
      offense was 58 at 427 yards oer game

      the difference of these 2 years was the competition.
      We love the UTES keep it up. Remember it was Ludwigs 4th year as OC in 2008 and Gary Anderson’s 4th year as DC
      We had a 1st year DC in Scally and a 2nd year or 3rd depending how you look at it OC in ARod-Harding.

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