On one of the shows I listen to, they do a segment called stud and duds. Since the year is over, I thought I'd do the same for this years team. I have my stud ,duds and jokers (guys in the middle)
Brian Blechen: DB
This guy was an absolute beast on defense and had a knack for not only making key plays but being an assassin on defense with big hits. What made this even more cool is that he''s a freshman who was recruited as a QB!. Even though he got burned a bit on coverage a few times (which I attribute to a rookie learning curve), this guy was one of our brightest spots on defense. Give Brian a year or two to improve his coverage and fundamental DB skills and this guy could look scary.
Reggie Dunn: WR/ KR/PR
Every time Dunn touched the ball, Utah fans held their breath. He was that good this year. Sure, he had a few touches that went bad but for the most part, his speed was unmatched. I'm very disappointed Utah's coaching staff didn't utilize him more in the offense and the overall game plans (deep WR core or not). With Shaky, and Brooks leaving, I hope Dunn can be one of our go-to guys in 2011.
Chaz Walker: LB
With 2009 stud Stevenson Sylvester graduating, one of Utah question marks on defense was at LB. Personally, I think the LB core did a good job this year. Even though they might have been soft against the run this year, I gotta give props to Chaz. He was our sure tackle guy (when he wasn't blocked). I'm looking forward to one more year with Chaz.
Brandon Burton- DB
Even though Brandon didn't fully live up to his 2010 expectations (he was selected as a pre-season all-american) he was a ball hawk and one of the teams leaders on defense. Plus, when a player single handedly wins the Holy War with a highlight reel play , he's gonna be a stud in my book. I'm a little concerned with our depth at corner if he leaves though (As Lamar Chapman is gone after this year).
Joe Phillips- K
Even though he lost some of his mojo late in the year (particularly the BSU game) I can't deny this guy was money in the bank when we needed 3 points.It was a tall task to fill the shoes of Louie Sakoda but Phillips did a damn good job at it. I'm gonna miss him next year.
Matt Asiata/ Eddie Wide III RB
Even though both didn't reach 1000 yds on the ground ,these guys did a great job pounding the rock. What made the two successful, was the fact they have two different running styles. I really hope Utah will keep rolling next year in the Pac-12 since we lost both of them (not to mention Shak).
Brooks wasn't horrible this year (51 catches, 633 yards and 4 TD's) but in my mind, he never really embraced the leadership role opportunity. I know it's not entirely fair to call him a dud for his key drops and lack of leadership but I just feel he could have done so much more.
The Utah O-line:
Early in the year, these guys were rock solid and I don't think that was entirely due to a favorable schedule. It just seemed after the TCU loss, they lost a step. In the losses to Notre Dame and Boise St., Utah fans were pulling their hair out with all the false start and holding calls Utah was getting hit with. I'm not ready to call for Blake Millers head but coach Whit needs to make serious adjustments before Pac-12 play.
Playcalling on offense
We've been here before, Utah play calling left much to be desired in 2010 but I think the main culprit was the two-OC system. Coach Whittingham needs to make ONE MAN they guy and hold him accountable for the offense. In my mind, I think Aaron Roderick can still be the man but he's gotta a tall mountain to climb next year.
Shaky Smithson- WR/ PR/KR
Shaky was the epitome of the joker status: one game he was great and was our x-factor but at other times he would make stupid mistakes that hurt our chances. I lean more on puting him in the stud category but I think his costly drops and fumbles prevented it. Having said that though, he's a great player and we are gonna miss him.
Jordan Wynn- QB
If I'm grading the QB that played up to the ISU game then he was a stud for sure but when the tough teams came to town and he got hurt, he wasn't the same. I realize injuring your throwing shoulder is a huge deal but I just can't put all the blame of his late struggles on him being hurt.
What do you guys think? any more studs or duds to add to the list?