Entering the 2012 season, there was optimism amongst the Utah faithful that the Ute offense would finally come around and match their powerful defense. Not only has the defense taken a step back from 2011, like we talked about yesterday, but the faithful are still waiting on the offense.
After missing nine games in 2011 with a shoulder injury, junior Quarterback Jordan Wynn was expected to take control of the offense once again and turn around an offense that ranked 109th overall in 2011.
The plan didn’t unfold like Coach Kyle Whittingham and staff had hoped, though. After just a game and a half into the 2012 season, Wynn was forced to take a medical retirement because of his ailing shoulder. After four surgeries, he had enough, and it was time to move forward.
Unfortunately for the Utah program, there was no one to turn to. Senior Jon Hays took control of the starting job and just three games into the Hays era, fans are calling for him to be replaced. Currently, Utah ranks 102nd in the nation in passing yards and Hays is completing just 59% of his passes. He does have a solid 6:2 touchdown to interception ratio, but Utah is scoring just under 19 points per game since he took over.
Utah fans have become increasingly frustrated with their Quarterback play because Utah has a solid receiving corps that they feel is being wasted. Dres Anderson is just a sophomore, but he is a name to look out for. Co-Offensive Coordinators Brian Johnson and Aaron Roderick feel that Anderson has NFL potential down the line. Along with the super sophomore are senior DeVonte Christopher and sophomore Kenneth Scott. Scott is Utah’s big play receiver and despite only having eight catches on the season, he averages 20 yards per catch and leads the team in touchdowns with three.
Given the career ending injury to Jordan Wynn, it is not entirely surprising that Utah has struggled passing the ball. What has been surprising is their lack of a running game. Senior Running Back John White IV led the conference with 316 carries last season and rushed for 1,519 yards. This season, he is rushing for just 60 yards per game and averages only 3.9 yards per carry. The biggest reason for the drop off is that Utah returns just two starters from last year’s offensive line. The O-line has struggled to open up holes for White and with no passing game to complement the run, teams are stacking the box to stop White.
The wildcard on Saturday could be freshman Quarterback Travis Wilson. Kyle Whittingham has said that Wilson is definitely pushing Hays for the starting job and they would like to see more of him in game situations. After seeing time in mop-up duty last week, Wilson could get his first real shot this week. If Hays struggles early, expect to see the big freshman. Wilson is 6’6” 220 pounds and has a rocket for an arm. He also is fairly mobile in the pocket and reminds viewers a lot of former Arizona State Sun Devil Brock Osweiler.