Wildcat Radio (@WildcatRadioAZ) reports all things from Arizona Wildcats football fall camp, talks about Marvin Bagley and the Arizona basketball program, plus previews the Mountain schools with Josh Worthington (@TinyJoshy) and Joseph Silverzweig (@JSilverzweig).
Listen to the Wildcat Radio Podcast by playing below, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, TuneIn Radio, Google Play, or any other podcast player.
Remember to pick up your copy of the 95 page, Completely Uncalled for 2017 Pac-12 Preview: http://wildcatradio.wordpress.com/
Our Pac-12 Preview Includes:
— 95 pages
— 12 full team previews
— USC coaching jokes
— Depth charts
— UCLA coaching jokes
— In-depth 2016 player stats including defensive statistics
— Over/Under Win total predictions
— A breakdown of the assumed breakfast habits of Kyle Whittingham
— All Pac-12 Team
— Regular jabs at bad coaches
— Predicted conference standings
— Lots of frowney faces in the Arizona sections
— A focus on 2017 rather than rehashed 2016 information
Enjoy a sneak peak of Utah below...
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham looks like a wonderful man set in his ways. He likely has his breakfasts planned for the week and has an alarm on his phone to remind him to change the motor oil in his car. This is a good thing. Applying successful principles to a rigid structure like, say, eating eggs benedict on Wednesday and actually using that Jiffy Lube coupon, can increase the chances of an enjoyable, stable life. The same concept applies to football.
Utah fans, for example, have enjoyed Whittingham’s strict Utah Football formula which includes: great special teams play, big and talented linemen, flossing every morning at 7:15, running backs, questionable quarterback play, and all the JUCO transfers. It works. In his time at Utah, Kyle Whittingham has won 104 games, secured four double-digit win seasons, and has gone 11-1 in bowl games. It’s not sexy, but it gets the job done.
So why on earth did Whittingham hire a quarterback coach from Eastern Washington, a team who runs an aggressive, spread offense, to be the new Utah offensive coordinator?
For progress! Last year, Utah won nine games with a quarterback who threw just 15 touchdowns. Imagine how good the Utes could be if they could, you know, actually throw the ball.
If Utah commits to a heavier emphasis on the pass, there will be growing pains. Mostly because their quarterbacks aren’t good. But, invest in the future. That’s what some rich guy said, probably.
Utah must replace some big-time players on defense and on offense. Couple this with the new offensive system and they will likely regress from their 2016 showing. Still, Utah will be competitive; they always are. They have good linemen, a great homefield advantage, and they can always sit on your team’s head for four straight minutes.
TroyWilliams had a brutal 2016, even for a game manager. Williams connected on 53% of his passes, threw 15 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, and averaged 2.1 yards per carry. But he won nine games.
Ute fans hope that new offensive coordinator Troy Taylor’s creativity and tutelage can transform Williams into an efficient and accurate game manager. If he doesn’t get there, the change in
leadership may make Whittingham more willing to change directions. He has two interesting options to choose from.
Former Alabama quarterback Cooper Bateman moved to Salt Lake as a graduate transfer and is pushing to crack the depth chart. Bateman, who lost his job to Jake Coker in 2015, proved to be an accurate and conservative leader under center. In limited playing time he went 5 for 5 and a touchdown in Utah’s Spring game. He will battle sophomore Tyler Huntley for the number two spot. Huntley, a duel-threat quarterback, played sparingly in 2016 but seems to have a leg up on Bateman in the depth chart.
Don’t look for a transformed quarterback unit with players jumping to another level. That’s not realistic. It is fair, however, to keep tabs on whether or not Utah’s efficiency under center has improved and if their play calling has progressed. If Taylor can make minor inroads, he could snag an extra victory or two.
@WildcatRadioAZ Projected Depth Chart:
TroyWilliams, Senior: 207 completions – 390 pass attempts | 53.1% completion rate | 2,751 passing yards | 7.1 yards per pass | 15 td | 8 int 111 carries – 235 yards | 2.1 yards per carry | 5 rushing td
Tyler Huntley, Sophomore: 5 completions - 7 pass attempts | 71.4% completion rate | 60 passing yards | 8.6 yards per pass | 0 tds | 0 int
Cooper Bateman, Senior: 37 completions – 52 pass attempt | 71.2% completion rates | 291 passing yards | 5.6 yards per pass | 1 td | 2 int | in 2015 – Alabama graduate transfer
Last year, Utah’s star running back, Joe Williams, pulled a Brett Favre. He retired from football only to return and be really, really awesome. Williams averaged 6.7 yards per carry, ran for 1,400 yards, and notched 10 touchdowns. Williams departs and the options behind him are good but not great.
Initial playing time will likely be split between sophomore, Zack Moss, and junior Armand Shyne. Both suffered injuries in 2016, both have been banged up in Spring ball, and both averaged less than five yards per carry last year. Additionally, Utah must rebuild it’s offensive line, which only returns one starter. If the status quo remains, it is likely that Utah’s running game will take a significant step back.
If Moss and Shyne can’t get the job done or are hampered by injuries it is possible that wildcard sophomore Devonta’e Henry-Cole could become Utah’s next “running back who was buried on the depth chart but, it turns out, he’s a devastating monster.” Henry-Cole impressed coaches in Spring ball and he is Utah’s fastest back, clocking a 4.43, 40 time.
@WildcatRadioAZ Projected Depth Chart:
Zack Moss, 5’10, 210 lb, Sophomore: 84 carries – 382 yards | 4.5 yards per carry | 2 td
Armand Shyne, 5’11, 210 lb, Junior: 78 carries – 373 yards | 4.8 yards per carry | 4 td
Devonta'e Henry-Cole, 5’8, 192 lb, Sophomore: 1 carry | 2 yards | impressed in Spring ball