Monday, June 13, 2011

Utah Utes 2010 Review

Utah Utes
2010 Record: 10-3 (7-1), 2nd Mountain West
2010 Bowl Game: Las Vegas Bowl, Lost to Boise State 26-3

     Utah competed hard last fall in their final season as a member of the Mountain West. They just did not have the fire power to compete with TCU when it all came down to it, and the Utes finished a very respectable 2nd place. The Utes, unfortunately also ran head first into another super power in Las Vegas, as Boise State crushed the Utes in the bowl game.
     Jordan Wynn will be depended on to improve upon last fall if the Utes are to be favored in the new Pac-12 South. Wynn will definately bring ability with him, as he passed for 2334 yards and 17 scores last fall. He also tossed 10 picks while missing 2 games due to injury. Wynn did complete 62% of his passes while averaging 212 yards per game, so the goal will be to improve and just stay healthy.
      The Utes averaged 152 yards per game rushing last season, and Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata combined to form a solid duo. Wide rushed for 717 yards on the season while scoring 11 TDs, and Asiata was the perfect compliment as he rushed for another 695 yards and 8 more scores. The issue is that both were seniors, and there was little depth behind them.
      The Utes boasted five dofferent receivers that caught at least 25 passes last fall, and the group was led by DeVonte Christopher, who posted a line of 39-660-6. Christopher averaged 16.92 yards per reception last fall, giving the Utes a big play threat. Christopher returns as a junior in 2011. Jereme Brooks was highly productive, as he actually led the team in receptions with 51 for 633 yards and 4 scores. He was followed by Shaky Smithson (25-383-3), Wide (34-271-2), and Asiata (32-195-1).
     The Utes were quite strong against the run last fall, but broke down agaist Doug Martin in the bowl. During the season, the Utes allowed only 104.2 yards per game rushing. They were a little shaky against the pass, as they allowed 215.5 yards per game through the air.
     The Utes did have some very good production when it came to making tackles, as 8 Utes had 50 tackles or more last fall. This group was led by LB Chaz Walker, who finished with 113 tackles. He was followed by Matt Martinez (91), Lamar Chapman (67), Brian Blechen (67), Justin Taplin-Ross (62), Christian Cox (53), Brandon Burton (51), and Chad Manis (51). Half of that group departed after the season.
     The Utes collected 77 TFLs on the season while only allowing 46. Chapman was the only player to hit double figures, having collected 10.5 on the year. Cox was next with 8.5, and he was followed by Walker with 7. Chapman also led the Utes with 6.5 sacks, as Utah collected 29 on the season. In contrast, the Utes Offensive Line only allowed 11 sacks all season.
     Burton and Blechen were the leaders against the pass, as Burton finished with 8 passes defended on the season. Blechen followed with 5 of his own on the year. Blechen was just a freshman, while Burton was a junior. Blechen also led the team with 4 picks on the season.
     Joe Phillips had his moments as PK last fall, having hit on 13 of his 17 FG attempts. He only missed one PAT all season, as he nailed 55 of 56. Sean Sellowwd was the starting punter as a sophomore last season, but did a credible job. Sellwood averaged 41 yards per punt, while averaging only 2.5 punts per game. Nick Marsh looks to replace Phillips at PK, while Sellwood will be back as a junior. Smithson was very good on kick returns, having averaged 24.14 yards per kick return, but it was Reggie Dunn who had the return of the year for a score. Dunn averaged over 29 yards per return, and will likely be the primary return man next fall. Smithson was a true threat on punt returns, as he returned two for scores last fall while averaging 19.07 yards per return.
Final Notes
Ute fans would have loved to have won the Mountain West ttitle in their swan song to the conference last fall, but it was not to be, and the Boise State game was a disaster. The disappointment in the fans faces sent shockwaves in the Las Vegas night as I sat amongst them. Never fear, good times are ahead, and Utah already will boast one of the best coaches in the new Pac-12 in Kyle Whittingham. I fully expect Utah to compete for and win the South title next fall. Good things are coming still.

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