There was a very good, and telling, comment dropped by a Utah fan here in a story on spring camp beginning. I read it earlier today and found myself nodding because it's so true - is there any legitimate hype to be had out of spring ball?
Every year, regardless of how good or bad the team is expected to be, we hear how improvement is being made. In fact, I made this assumption after the first week of last year's spring ball:
Jordan Wynn is healthy. That isn't up for debate. He looks better this spring than he did last spring (which isn't a surprise all things considered) and arguably better than he looked during fall camp, as well. For Ute fans who were worried he might have ended his career during the Washington game (like me), this is welcoming news.
Healthy was subjective, I guess. He was healthy in the sense that his arm wasn't just hanging there. But in the overall sense of the word? Mentally and physically, Wynn was never healthy to the point where he would ever be successful. Instead, we carried on this charade until he went down against Utah State and his playing career ended.
He didn't end his playing career against Washington like I suspected initially in 2011 - but he only made it an extra game and a half. In hindsight, all the hype surrounding Wynn was overblown and, unfortunately, he could never come close to living up to it. The bottom line, Wynn didn't look any better in spring than he did at the start of fall camp in 2011. The coaches told us he did and even the media latched on to this idea that his arm was as strong as it had ever been - but in reality, it was all really just smoke and mirrors.
That's not to fault Wynn. I've never faulted him in any of this mess because some things are just uncontrollable and this is certainly one of those things. But we were led to believe that he was probably a bit healthier than he really was and I'm not even suggesting it was a total manipulation on the part of the coaches. I just think camp is limited in the weaknesses that could unfold throughout a season. Wynn's arm looked good in camp because it's not game action and the second Wynn stepped on the field and played against a real defense (and Northern Colorado doesn't really count), the concerns many of us had prior to spring and fall camps revealed themselves.
So, it is important to take what you hear these next few weeks with a grain of salt. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that the program is going to be great because all the news you hear out of spring ball is great.
That doesn't mean it won't, obviously. It just means you have to be a little more skeptical than in years past because, last season, I think we all felt a little burned.
Still, there are some exciting things that happened in day one. The biggest doesn't deal with player development - but the major concern most of us had entering the offseason and that's the play calling on the offensive side of the ball.
Dennis Erickson, who's now Utah's co-offensive coordinator, wants a more uptempo offense and that I'm sure is music to the ears of Ute fans. Of course, skepticism rears its ugly head again because we did hear about how innovative and exciting Brian Johnson's offense would prove to be - as there were hints of Utah returning to its spread roots and, even though they did for moments, it wasn't lasting.
But I don't want to be the buzzkill in all of this. I just think it's important we look at spring camp with more caution and not get too high on the news we hear these next few weeks.
There are still positive things to take from the first day, however, and one of those is the development of Travis Wilson. Wilson's arm supposedly looks even better than last year's and his overall performance besting his best from last season. If that's true, I think we're in a good position.
I guess in the end, this spring is to not get too caught up in everything you hear. I don't think that's terribly negative - just smart. We were burned last season for a reason and it was because our expectations were grossly inflated. Now we just need to ground those expectations, relax a bit and watch this team grow. At least in that regard, you can make your own call.