Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Utah Utes of 2013!

I'm now addicted to news about the University of Utah football team.  Articles come out about once or twice a day, mainly from the deseret news, the salt lake tribune, and the ESPN Pac 12 blog.  
It appears the Utes will be the best they've ever been this year.  They have the hardest schedule they've ever played this year.  I'm pretty sure these kinds of things are said every year.  

My big concern is for the defensive line.  Of course after losing Lotulelei and the Krugers there is going to be a huge drop off.  However, several coaches are saying that it will be a strong unit.  I'm thinking that they'll have issues.  

When you have a great running back, you use him, things are great, you score, etc.  I'm really concerned when all four running backs are ripping off great runs all the time.  That doesn't tell me that they have four great running backs.  That tells me they have some weaknesses on defense.

On the other hand, it could mean that they have a much improved offensive line, which seems to be the case.  Until I see some massive runs by multiple running backs in games, I'm going to hope that one or two really stands out and gets the job.  Why does the U need eight running backs?  Apparently four more are coming in Fall.  I'd rather get a few more receivers.  Preferably the kind that can catch the ball.  

What other issues?  I'm a little bit concerned about the completion rate of the quarterbacks.  Lots of dropped balls and batted down balls and some interceptions.  I hope either Travis Wilson or Adam Schulz pulls away.  I hear it all the time.  When there are two quarterbacks, there aren't really any quarterbacks.  

Again to play the devil's advocate, intra-team scrimmages don't really give a good picture.  The defense knows its own offense better than any other offense, and will be more prepared and better able to stop them.  Or so I would think.,r:69,s:0,i:330&iact=rc&dur=1789&page=7&tbnh=165&tbnw=306&start=64&ndsp=12&tx=165&ty=102

When I played football at Magnolia High School, I was a wide receiver, and we practiced the "x slant" about 6 times in a row.  I was the receiver, running diagonally towards the center of the field, receiving the football from Todd B, who was quarterback.  If I remember right, the first ball was thrown well, and I just dropped it.  We ran the play again.  Of course the corner back, Phillip L, knew the play, and he got his hands in even better to stop the catch the second time we ran it.  Once or twice the pass wasn't perfect, and Phil finally decided to pretend that he didn't know what was coming, and we connected.  

Long story short, it is a challenge for offenses and defenses to face each other on the same team without using advantages that they wouldn't have in a real game, such as a better knowledge of the playbook, or of weaknesses on the other side of the ball.  Of course finding out these things about opposing teams is part of every college team's strategy, but there's nothing like the guys you practice against every day.  

So do the defensive players know the offense's routes?  Sure.  Do they know exactly where the quarterback is probably looking for an open man?  Of course.  Should this result in more interceptions, batted down passes, and less separation between receivers and defensive backs?  Yes.  

So, fearless and overly optimistic biased prediction for this year.  10-3  

I'm trying to figure out how to paste images from other sites again.  The way I've done it in other posts is arduous, taking almost thirty seconds, and I'm not sure if it's completely legal.  My friend Josh C. told me how to do it... multiple times, but I forgot, and I'm way to lazy to actually look it up.  Instead I'll pointlessly blather on about it and probably have long lines of meaningless letters instead of pictures in several places on this blog.  Meh.  Go Utes!