Utah donned pads for the first time this spring today for practice. There was not tackling, but the intensity level was ramped up, which included several little skirmishes between players. In this article, we take a look at the offense. For those expecting to see some progression on offense, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick's group did not disappoint. With another new offensive coordinator calling plays, fans may be wondering what the new offense looks like. We cover that and more.
Thoughts from Alex
The team overall looked good today. I liked some of the new wrinkles added to the offense. Using running backs Bubba Poole and Troy McCormick as slot receivers allows talented players to get more touches than they would solely at running back behind Devontae Booker (who did not take reps in 11 on 11). Poole and McCormick would take reverses out of the slot in addition to catching passes. There were a lot more tosses/speed options with the running backs compared to last season. Poole struggled a little with drops, but he has nice moves when he gets in the open field. McCormick's speed is unreal, and head coach Kyle Whittingham talked about the need to get more touches for the speedy sophomore running back from Katy, Texas. Walk on Tani Leha'uli runs with toughness and has been a nice surprise so far this spring.
The receivers also really impressed me. Raelon Singleton was the star in my mind today, but Kenric Young also looked great, and Jameson Field also made some nice catches. Tyrone Smith is one to watch as well as spring continues. Kenneth Scott did not participate today. Whittingham is also hopefully that Tim Patrick will be back in a limited capacity before the end of spring camp.
The quarterbacks were a bit up and down today. Travis Wilson was by far the most consistent. He looked poised and missed the fewest throws of any of the quarterbacks. Kendal Thompson threw the ball well in limited action. He is held out of any live work, so his running ability was not on display. Chase Hansen and Brandon Cox both flashed their speed and agility in the open field on scrambles and read-option keepers. Cox in general struggled with his accuracy in practice today. he had several bad misses and threw a couple interceptions as well. Hansen had fewer reps throwing the ball, but he made some nice throws but also had several misses. His passes still lack the velocity of some of the other quarterbacks. Donovan Isom looks the part physically, but he is not quite ready yet. He had several bad throws (one resulting in an interception). Conner Manning did not do much of anything flashy, but he didn't have too many misses.
Thoughts from Daniel
At this point our depth chart would look this way...
1) Wilson 2) Thompson and then everyone else. Isom, Hansen, Cox and Mannning had a rough day. Wildly inconsistent at times and flashes of brilliance. I imagine it will stay this way in to the fall.
Kenric Young is a star in my eyes. Today he did it all. Especially with the absence of K Scott (Pit) today, Young's talents were all on full display. He abused every DB they put on him today and it was very fun to watch. Raelon Singleton turned heads once again this morning. He had the best catch of the day and showed great consistency. These two young players are the future of Utah football. They are prototypical Pac-12 guys and they are playing that way right now.
There some very encouraging and interesting things being put in to play today. Lots of misdirection and tons of playmakers getting the ball. The rock is being spread around in a huge way. Coach Roderick is emphasizing the point of letting the guys who can make big things happen get their shot. If today was an indication of what we will see this fall, this team is going to score a lot of points.
Be sure to check out our interviews as well.