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The question none of us want to ask

Welcome Big12 Fans and Foes Forums Utah Utes Sports Football The question none of us want to ask

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    • #210858
      14
      chinngiskhaan
      Participant

      what are the odds both Cam and Kuithe make it through this year without another season-ending (or at least ruining) injury? Let us assume season-ruining is missing more than 2 games.

      We’ll be lucky if even one of them makes it through the season without missing more than a game or two… and THAT is this team’s biggest question mark by far. If Rising goes down, our offense might do even worse than it did last year (if that is even possible).

      On a positive note, this staff has VERY NEARLY done their job to perfection this offseason. All they need to do is nab a career backup kinda guy as an insurance policy in case Wilson/Rose aren’t ready to come in when Cam inevitably goes down (hopefully not for longer than a series or two).

      We REALLY NEEDED help at WR, they got Singer, who is exactly what we needed. We also got Lyons. Our WR room is in better shape than it has been in a long time.

      We NEEDED a TE to help take the load off of Kincaid, who has broken down physically when asked to carry the load on offense. We got pretty much the best guy available in Carsen Ryan.

      We needed experience and depth in the secondary. We got Johnson, Gilman and Calhoun.

      We needed proven production at RB. We got Woods.

      I could not have imagined this staff doing any better with transfers. PHENOMENAL JOB!

    • #210870
      1 1
      Jim Vanderhoof
      Participant

      With our current RB room we have nobody to replace JJ size and power. WR we picked up 2 but lost 2. Pittman is a wild card. Bridges would have been big addition.

      I hope Whitt and Ludwig change offensive philosophy and spread the field. Our RB are small and quick. Get the ball to them in space. With a better TE room utilize their skills. Throw the ball downfield! This offense has a similar personnel to Oregon last year. Rising similar to Nix. Similar style RB (less talent) our TE would be better and WR similar but not enough depth or 1 more playmaker.

      • #210871
        3
        chinngiskhaan
        Participant

        We could indeed use a bruiser back, but I think we might have a guy or two on the team already that can fill that hole.

        I think you are making faulty assumptions about the offensive philosophy. You seem to be suggesting that we haven’t spread the ball around in the past under Ludwig, and that is incorrect. Last year’s philosophy was out of necessity. When Huntley played under Ludwig, and in Rising’s healthy years the offense has spread the ball around quite a bit. Vele, Dixon, Fotheringham, Kincaid, Kuithe, Covey and Bernard all got theirs.

        If we have a healthy offense, we will spread the ball around. Ludwig has proven he is willing and able to make that happen if we have players that can execute.

        We finally have a receiver or two that can take the top off of a defense and give Kuithe and Bernard some room to work underneath.

        I will believe Pittman is anything other than a name on a roster if/when he is healthy enough to play.

        • #210903
          Jim Vanderhoof
          Participant

          Our top two receivers under Rising
          2021 Covey 514 Vele 389
          2022 Vele 695 Parks 414
          2023 Vele 593 Parks 293 (Barnes)
          2023 Bo Nix top two receivers 1400 and 1200 in comparison.

          My point being throw to the WRs downfield more. 20-30 yrd plays. That will open the short range for the TEs and backs. We don’t have a power back but several quick shifty backs. My hope is that Ludwig and Whitt go more spread out passing attack. Penix and Nixs gave us the blue print to get to the next level. Rising like the other two has the experience. Turn him loose. Get the defense on their heals that’s how they beat us. We need at least 1 more play maker. I think Pittman will be more than a roster name. Hopefully Lyons year with Washington will give him a head start with us.

    • #210872
      7
      cj13
      Participant

      I still want a really nice OL transfer. Someone like Paki Finau from Washington who was given a 4 star transfer rating and would immediately start. We need a top tier O Line if we want to make a dent in the playoffs this year

      • #210877
        1
        chinngiskhaan
        Participant

        That would be nice, but I don’t think we NEED more OL depth.

      • #210889
        X723
        Participant

        He will give us 4 yrs. also I was thinking the same thing when I saw him in the portal…

      • #210901
        Ute Dub
        Participant

        Lomu and Garcia are both rated higher than Finau, and Alderman isn’t far behind, so, I think Utah is set at you OL talent ready or near ready to start.

    • #210882
      2
      RoboUte
      Participant

      Chance either makes it through? Decent. Chance both make it through? Honestly, it’s got to be near 0.

      For whoever needs to hear it: Cam Rising has never not suffered a season ending injury. Sometimes it comes quick, sometimes it doesn’t. If you’re betting on this being his first year to buck that trend then I’ve got a bridge to sell you or something like that, the proceeds will go to Cam’s AARP membership. It’s never good for your first QB to go down, theoretically. Of course examples of the backup outperforming the starter happen all the time. But We’re Utah and even a single QB is probably too much to bet on. Two or three QBs? Let’s get real. Historically there’s no evidence to suggest that we will have a single competent backup.

      In a thread the other day about half the people that bothered to comment thought we’d go undefeated in 2024. There’s no way that they’re processing that our offensive production is a single reasonably likely play away from reverting to bottom 10 in the nation. Ask me how I know it gets that bad…

      • #210896
        The Miami Ute
        Participant

        I guess that you’re counting the concussion he suffered in the January 2022 Rose Bowl as a season ending injury?

        • #210904
          RoboUte
          Participant

          Unfortunately that wasn’t the only one he suffered in a rose bowl.

    • #210892
      2
      tanute3
      Participant

      I’m grateful that our schedule is somewhat front loaded with Oklahoma State and Arizona being our first two conference games for this reason. Ideally, we’ll be able to get through these tough games with guys healthy and potentially have some less difficult games for guys to heal up in the middle of the season (looking at the game in Nov 9th, in particular 😉)

    • #210893
      3
      The Miami Ute
      Participant

      I’m going to say that there’s a good chance that both players go through the whole season unscathed. Or at least unscathed as related to their previous injuries. Michael Penix suffered four consecutive season ending injuries at Indiana (two x ACLs and two x shoulder) but then didn’t miss a snap in two seasons at Washington. There are success stories with injury comebacks written every year.

    • #210898
      3
      Utah
      Participant

      Man, with how much easier our schedule is this year, we should expect a lot less injuries.

      Look at 2024:

      FCS/G5 Teams: Southern Utah, Utah State, Houston, BYU, UCF

      P5 teams that hope to go bowling: Baylor, ASU, TCU, Colorado, Iowa State

      Hope to Be Ranked teams: Oklahoma State, Arizona

      Compared to last year:

      FCS/G5: Weber State
      Hope to go Bowling: Florida, Cal, Colorado
      Hope to be ranked: UCLA, Oregon State, USC, Oregon, UW, Arizona

      In 2023, we played six teams that were good enough to be ranked. 2024, it’s two.

      In 2023, we played nine teams that had a realistic goal of going bowling. In 2024, it’s 7. We played one G5/FCS in 2023. We play FIVE in 2024. FIVE TEAMS THAT HAVE G5 ROSTERS OR WORSE.

      I know some in our fan base are really into kissing the balls of Big 12 fans, but the reality is, our schedule has gotten A LOT easier. There are some really good teams in the Big 12. We play one, in Oklahoma State.

      Had the PAC-12 fallen apart sooner, UCF, Houston, BYU and Cincinnati would not be in the conference. Cincinnati is a mid level P5 and UCF has potential but BYU and Houston are hot garbage. They dilute it big time. Baylor is bad. TCU has some serious questions. Iowa State is average. Kansas and KSU are good, but we don’t play them. And Tech and WVU have potential, but are usually very average P5 teams.

      Our schedule is a lot easier because of all this, which means we should have a lot less injuries as well.

      • #210905
        1
        2008 National Champ
        Participant

        there is no correlation between strength of schedule and injury rate

      • #210906
        Jim Vanderhoof
        Participant

        With the portal every year is different. Pac 12 was at its best this year but down the previous several years. Big 12 was down this year but came off a year they put a team in CFP and played for the title. It’s hard to argue about this year comparisons unless you count Texas.

        You make some great valid points. I hope you’re right! I’m not quite sold yet. Road teams usually struggle the first couple years of a conference. Playing 4 familiar teams 2 on the road next year will help us. That still leaves a couple tough to win road games.

        • #210932
          1
          Utah
          Participant

          I’m so tired of the byu argument that the PAC-12 was some terrible conference.

          The Big 12 has always been as bad, if not worse. The only difference between the Big 12 and the PAC-12 is that the Big 12 was easy enough for Oklahoma and/or Texas to go undefeated/one loss every year and get into the playoff, whereas the PAC-12 was a lot better in the middle of the conference. You can’t argue that the PAC-12 was a down conference and then in the next sentence talk about how good the Big 12 was.

          Both conferences weren’t that great. And the computers always had the PAC-12 as a top 3 conference while the Big 12 and ACC would battle it out for 4-6.

          Our toughest game will be Oklahoma State, and they weren’t a great team. We miss WVU, Kansas, Kansas St and Texas Tech, teams that should be all be as good or better than OSU.

          And there is no need to include Texas in anything, because they aren’t around anymore. We will never play Texas. They are irrelevant to Utah.

    • #210912
      Trailgoat
      Participant

      Agree, Utah wins as long as CR stays healthy. Would like to see CR reduce running the ball intentionally and work on his down field slides. Oregon and UW did a good job significantly reducing Nix’s rushing attempts. Nix ran the ball 57 times in 2023 compared to 89 times in 2022. Pennix ran the ball 35 times last season. Rising ran the ball 74 times in 2022 and 77 in 2023. That said, UO used a lot of quick pass options. Having dynamic NFL level RBs and a bad ass Oline to support Nix running the ball less is a bonus.

      Crazy to think Rising going into his (IF my count is correct?) 7th year only playing two meaningful seasons of college football both involving missed games due to injury. Not counting the 2020 season after CRs early injury exit in the USC game after Daniels look out block. Hopefully the addition of some better WR options help Utah give Rising more pass options. Utah’s Oline needs to have a big season.

    • #210915
      4
      Rick
      Participant

      I love how everyone laments on here about us missing JJ’s size. JJ did not use his size one little bit when he ran the ball. He was NOT a power running back by any sense of the term. He ran high, had very little lateral quickness, and was both injury and fumble prone. Am I missing something here? Just because he was big in actual stature does not mean he leveraged his size in his actual running of the field. John White had more power in his little pinky than JJ did. When I look at the film on Woods, I see a guy that runs hard, has excellent lateral quickness, and uses his eyes and instincts. He is a running back. JJ was a project.

      • #210927
        1
        Jim Vanderhoof
        Participant

        Rick I respect your opinion but disagree. Our offense was better (compared to not good) with JJ. Teams were playing 8 man fronts and he was playing with a high ankle sprain. Our smaller backs did nothing against teams with big DL and an extra tackler.

        He would be much more effective this year with Rising and the threat of pass. Woods could be a good fit also. My hope is that we play more Oregon style and get our backs more open space to use their quickness and speed. Four yards and a cloud of dust won’t cut it anymore. To have success on the top level you need big plays.

        • #210950
          2
          Rick
          Participant

          I never said it was better or worse with JJ. I just said he does not run like a big back even though he is a big back. I was not one of those that thought the sky was falling because he entered the portal and left. I know we can do better because we have done better and had better backs for pretty much the past 20 years. Names like Warfield, Marty, Mack, Asiata, Wide, Ganther, Booker, Williams, Moss, and White were all better backs than JJ. I think our RB room will be better this season without JJ. I think everyone looked at JJ and thought they saw the second coming of Booker and, in terms of physical build, they were right. However, that comparison ended when he took the hand off. I am not knocking him because I know he was a converted QB but I am also not all that sad to see him with the Razorbacks. We can do better and I think we will be better there this year.

          • #210991
            1
            The Miami Ute
            Participant

            JJ was a project.

            So, JJ went from a team that emphasized the run and, without injuries, would have challenged for a conference title to a team playing in the toughest football conference in the nation and which went 1-7 in the conference last year. I’d say it’s a better than even bet that he doesn’t come close to producing what he did at Utah.

    • #210916
      Jim Vanderhoof
      Participant

      Good post goat. CR needs to only run when necessary. The Nix Penix comparables kept them on the field. If CR wants to get drafted he needs to show more arm strength throwing down field. The WR room needs to step up if we want a chance at the CFP.

      2021 22 seasons were power running TE passes and Rising running for 1st downs. It was effective and got us to 2 Rose bowls. We don’t have the power back and Rising can’t run and stay healthy. All of our running backs are small quick and fast. Our personnel is similar to Oregon last year. Pittman Singer Lyons Parks and hopefully 1 or two more playmakers need to have big years.

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