I keep hearing how the Utes have one of the most explosive offenses in the nation and I just am not seeing it. Not since 2004 has Utah produced an offense worthy of being deemed explosive and I'm guessing that won't change this year, either.
As you can see the offensive productivity isn't even on the same level as it was last year. In fact, this is the worst offensive production since the early 1990s, when Ron McBride first took over the program. The 2000 season, where Utah finished 4-7, still had more offensive production than this year's Utah team. That's a scary stat that may mean the Utes are doomed for a performance worthy of the 2000 Utah team. Except of course that the 2000 team was in every loss, while every loss from this year's Utah team has been in blowout fashion.
I think Utah's rushing yards per game is the most glaring of all the stats I've posted. Mostly because Utah has always had a solid running game and this year it's nonexistent. Is it coaching or personnel? Well Utah definitely has underutilized its backs this season, opting for a passing game that clearly hasn't manifested. Against Wyoming, a team that had struggled to stop the run all season long, the Utes decided to go to the air for their offensive production. It didn't work and likely cost them the game since all but 10 of Wyoming points came off of Utah turnovers.
The Utes made up their mind before they rolled into Laramie that they were going to pass on the Cowboys. When it didn't work, they continued, trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The adjustments weren't made and because of that, Utah is looking at another mediocre season.
Utah may have still lost if they ran the ball more than they did over the weekend, but I doubt it would have been by the margin they actually did. It probably would have kept them in the game and a few plays could have secured a victory. But this coaching staff is content on forcing Ratliff through the air, even when it's proven costly. He just isn't a good passer and it's been quite obvious from the start of the season. He stares down his receivers, overthrows and underthrows them when he throws the deep ball and constantly throws behind the receivers as well.
Utah needs to shake up this offense and it starts with the play calling. The passing game is just not strong enough to support a bulk of the plays. I say run the option, that plays into Ratliff's strength as a quarterback. He's a good runner, in fact a bulk of Utah's rushing yards have come from him, and the Utes' offense at least moves the ball when the spread option is employed.
It's going to be a difficult week, especially if the Utes fail to get anything going on the offensive side of the ball against New Mexico. The Lobos aren't good, sadly it seems neither are the Utes. Utah's offense, unless it's changed, will cost them another 3-4 games this season and that should be unacceptable. It will also be unacceptable if Whittingham does not make the needed changes to right this damn thing.