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Are the offensive struggles a concern?

Kyle Whittingham has been pretty candid when it comes to Utah's offensive woes during fall camp. And with the season less than two weeks away, this is becoming a more pressing issue for Utah football. But is it a valid concern, or just an overtly pessimistic tone coming out of camp to counter the blind optimism we saw in 2005 and 2006?

The fact is, many Utah fans were very troubled by the lack of offensive consistency last season. The Utes were never an explosive offense team and even when they had solid games, there were glaring errors that ultimately came out against better opponents. The result left Utah stagnated against teams like UCLA, Boise State, Wyoming and even New Mexico in the second half. All those losses were a direct result of offensive struggles, though the defense was also to blame for the New Mexico game. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to many that Utah fans are cautious when they hear stories about the Utes' offense not getting it done in practice, especially against a depleted defense.

Whether these are valid concerns won't be known until Utah's first game against Oregon State, but I've got to think that these problems aren't nearly as bad as what we're led to believe. In fact, I bet the offense looks crisp enough in practice to give the coaches some optimism, however, as it was proven the past two years, stating that in press does not automatically make it true.

Leading Utah's offense will be Brian Johnson, who returns after missing all of last season. Along with Johnson, Utah returns its best receivers, a talented offensive line and most importantly, a return to the spread offense. This should open things up for the Utes, however it's unclear how good the tailback position will be and that might ultimately hinder the offensive development. Yet I can't help but feel that a more matured Johnson will be able to run an offense that offers many weapons and a deeper play book. That right there shows me this offense will be far better than what we saw last year, and it wasn't as if the offense in 2006 was all that terrible.