Utah’s newest offensive coordinator, Troy Taylor, is bringing what he calls the iPhone of offenses to Utah, meaning it’s easy to learn and use. Included with this offense is not only a more passer friendly offense, but also higher tempo. This wouldn’t be the first time that Utah has tried a higher tempo offense in the last handful of seasons.
First, Dennis Erickson installed a higher tempo offense, and it lasted maybe three or four games. Dave Christensen preached tempo, tempo, tempo the moment he stepped on campus. That approached almost lasted as long as he did, as the tempo was throttled back as conference play really kicked off, due to some turnover concerns and the emergence of Devontae Booker. Now, each one had their reasons for dialing back the speed. For Erickson, a lot of it was injuries around the field, including to Travis Wilson at QB, and some turnover concerns. Christensen had some injuries to deal with as well, but the story out there is that the entire offensive staff allegedly hated working with the man. Regardless, the narrative was rather consistent, when things got tough, the team would move back into the more conservative mold and run the ball, play field position, and rely on a great defense. With that said, there have been a lot of wins with that game plan the last couple of seasons.
What’s different this time around? Frankly, Coach Whitt is tired of falling a game short of winning the division, and not taking that next step, thus the reason he changed things up again. He wants more consistency at QB with a QB friendly offense, and that’s why Taylor is on campus - not only as OC but also QB Coach. Taylor happens to bring an offense that has speed, and if it’s a simplified offense, then it should be easier to adopt and execute.
Here are some reasons why I think it will stick this time around:
While I liked Travis Wilson a lot, I think Troy Williams is a better fit for this offense, he’s a better passer, even if he struggled at times last season (I think play calling didn’t help him out). Also, with his heir apparent Tyler Huntley, that makes the future even more exciting, since he’ll be able to hopefully develop in this system.
Depth in all phases of the offense is a big key as well. The staff has moved Troy McCormick to slot, where he is dangerous, without taking the beating of running back, where he’s been since he’s been on campus. I think the young receivers fit a good mold for a fast paced offense with Raelon Singleton, Demari Simpkins, Siaosi Wilson and some of the other young additions to this wide receiving corps.
The talent at running back is as good as ever, with Armand Shyne and Zack Moss, who both showed great potential last year. Devontae Henry-Cole is also an interesting name to keep an eye on at running back as well. He may be the perfect change of pace back for an offense like this. Also, the depth at o-line is deeper than it was in those first couple of seasons in the league, although, reloading from last year’s line will be tough, but I think they have the bodies to do it.
Recruiting on the Pac-12 level now for six seasons will help add to the depth, something that Utah didn’t have when they previously tried the higher tempo offenses. The talent gap between where those other coaches and teams tried the faster tempo offense, and now, is rather large, top to bottom.
The question will be when things get tough, which happens in this league, will the Utes stick to the game plan, or revert to ground and pound and ball control? That’s going to be the ultimate question.