Dreams, nightmares and the ’11 Utes

What I don’t know, what I do know, what I hope and what scares me. 

There are a lot of things about this team that I am excited about.  I think we have a pretty good team and I think we have the ability to be a great team.  After the first few games, there are a couple of things that I am seeing that give me great hope (namely our defensive pressure on the other team’s QB and Jordan Wynn) and a couple of things that I am seeing that give me the shakes (our power run game and our PATs/FGs).

I can see enough to make me dream big and enough to make me remember past nightmares. 

This isn’t all inclusive, just a few things I wanted to mention.  I would love to hear the things that excite you about this team and what scares you.  Here are mine:

I am seeing us doing a better job this year of getting after the QB

Some of my fondest football memories are of opposing quarter back running away from and getting sacked by us.  I love it when we make a good quarterback look bad (especially when that QB is named Max Hall).  That is why I am so happy to see more hurries, fumbles and sacks this year. 

My dream for the ’11 Utes:  Some of the games I remember most are USC in 2001, Pitt in 2004, BYU and Alabama in 2008, and now BYU in 2011.  I remember in 2004 after Tyler Palko was sacked yet again him getting up and yelling at his offensive line.   I dream of seeing the other QB yelling at his line. 

My nightmare: To quote Jordan Wynn, my nightmare is to see the other teams’ QB sitting in a rocking chair, and darning socks.  Last year we didn’t seem to pressure much.  I have nightmares from last year seeing Andy Dalton with all the time in the world picking our secondary apart.  I have nightmares about that. 

I am scared about the power running game

Let me start by saying I really like JWIV.  However, run him between the tackles and I am less impressed?

Do we have a running back that can run between the tackles and get a couple of yards when we need them?  Do we have a power back, A third down back?  I don’t know and that really scares me. 

What about BYU this year?  Did we get a lot of yards in the 2nd half because BYU was done, or did we get a lot of yards because we wore them down and JWIV is that good when he has space?  He did look great in space.  But as good as he looked in half 2, he looked that bad in half 1. 

Also what happens if JWIV gets hurt?  Do we have another Mack or another Wide waiting for Asiata to get hurt to step up big time?  Vakapuna hasn’t looked good yet and neither has Langi. 

My nightmare scenario for the ’11 Utes power running game:  Remember the Air Force game from a few years ago when Postom was our #1 running back.  We had 1st and Goal on the two yard line and ran 3 plays up the middle and got 0 yards.  We ran a boot leg wide, and got nothing again.   That’s my nightmare, that we don’t have anyone to smash it home.    

My dream:  Think of Asiata’s first touchdown agaisn’t Alabama.  How many times do you think Alabama saw that exact same play on film?  Way too many times for them to look that bad defending it.  I love watching that play and seeing Alabama’s LBs panicking when Utah lines up in the Wildcat.  I love seeing Asiata pop through the line like a greased pig.  I dream of a power back who can KO the D.

I am seeing Wynn become great

I want to start with Brian Johnson because I think we can compare him to Wynn.  My opinion of BJ for most of his career was that he was a pretty good QB, with decent talent, but that he was injury prone, wasn’t as physically talented as his predecessor and wasn’t going to take us to the Promised Land.  I was convinced at the start of the 08 season that we had a good quarterback but not a great quarterback. 

However, in 08 I began to realize that Brian Johnson was very smart, Brian Johnson was king of the 2 minute drill, and Brian Johnson had a tenacious will to win.  He knew he was going to win.    

I think that Jordan Wynn is just as smart.  Chow said he was very smart.  Look at his game and despite the poor passes, he hasn’t made a lot of mistakes. 

Jordan Wynn has a tenacious will to win.  He is tough, has come back from hard hits and injuries with a stronger desire to compete. 

I think Jordan Wynn is more talented physically than Brian Johnson.  I heard somewhere on the radio that the type of surgery he had takes 1 year to recover.  I think that when his arm catches up to his brain we will have a great quarterback. 

My Dream: I dream that Jordan Wynn will recover and that we will kill the teams we should beat and make them look like Iowa State last year.  I dream that he will look like Alex Smith, complete understanding of the offense and the physical ability to make the play.  I dream that Wynn will learn to gut out the hard wins against great defenses like TCU in 2008.  Have the confidence to win.

My nightmare: that we will plod through games like we did against BYU in 2010.  BYU in 2010 was different that TCU in 2008.  In 2010 our low production was more our fault, in 2008 the low production was more TCU’s fault.  Even though we beat BYU in 2010, most of the game was very difficult for me.

I am scared about our PATs and Field Goals

Let’s face it, if you play teams at your level, you don’t have blowouts.  If you don’t have blowouts then the kicking game becomes a lot more important. 

Think about USC this year, BYU last year, TCU and Oregon State in 2008.  I think we will have to rely on our kicker more now than we have in the past.  I am scared that we aren’t where we need to be in the kicking game. 

My nightmare: Ryan Kaneshiro comes to mind.  So does the Utah TCU game in 2008 only from a TCU perspective.  The TCU kicker lost that game as much as Utah’s defense and Brian Johnson/Freddie Brown won it. 

My Dream for the ’11 Ute Kicking Game:  We know what the dream is, Oregon State in 2008.  We have only had one king at the U.  I dream that we find a successor, a clutch kicker.  

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