How big of a hit will Utah's D take?

Now that both Sean Smith and Paul Kruger have announced they're going pro, Utah loses two of their most eilte defensive players. But how big of an impact will that have on next year's Utes and will it ultimately knock them down a peg? 

Prior to the news, Utah was pretty much a consensus top-25 team for the 2009 season, does that change? If it does, will they fall entirely out of the preseason polls or tumble only a few spots? Does this jeopardize their chances to repeat as champions next year? Or is it a minor bump, something the Utes will overcome? 

I know those are a ton of questions, but I think next year's outlook definitely became a bit more murky than it was a week ago. Ultimately, though, I do not believe it will be a huge loss. The defense is still going to be one of the best in the conference and with a favorable out of conference schedule, Utah should be set up for a possible ten-win season. While I obviously would like both back, I think Utah is very capable of plugging in other players and getting results that aren't significantly less than what we saw this season.

But what do you think? Is this going to be a repeat of 2005, where Utah struggled replacing talent? Or have the Utes finally reached a level where they can reload instead of rebuild?

 

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