Tom Smart, Deseret News
Not many undergo injury problems like Jordan Wynn did.
But like the former Utah quarterback — who was limited in his career due to well-chronicled injuries — many Utes on defense had troubles staying on the field this spring. The three brightest returning stars from Utah’s defense — linebacker Brian Blechen (tendinitis) and defensive ends Trevor Reilly (knee) and Nate Orchard (back) — were sidelined for much of spring practice.
Fans shouldn’t become as concerned with the defense as they rightfully were with the former quarterback. Wynn’s shoulder separation — the fourth of his career — in the second week of last season derailed the Utes’ plans of competing for the Pac-12 South Division title.
Blechen, Reilly and Orchard will lead the defense heading into August practices — though after safety Eric Rowe, mainly fresh faces will join them in the first unit. After all, the defense sent six players to the NFL (three from the defensive line), five of whom apparently survived rookie mini-camp.
Reports of seven returning starters are misleading since as many as four started at safety, filling in for others for no more than a handful of games.
But with two linemen that coach Kyle Whittingham says are past due to start, the defense should be at least as solid as last season’s, which made Utah at least competitive despite the ineptitude of the passing game. The Utes ranked 49th nationally in scoring defense, compared to an offense that finished 75th in points per game.
Rhett Wilkinson is the project manager for UtahPolicy.com and hails the true-blooded Aggies from Utah. The co-founder of Aggie BluePrint.com, he's been an intern for the Deseret News and other publications. email@example.com | @wilklogan
- The 1996 NBA Draft redone: How did the Jazz...
- 5 things to look for as BYU heads into fall camp
- 5 things to watch for as BYU, Utah and USU...
- 5 things Utah football needs for coming season
- Dick Harmon: Hanging with legacy players of...
- Brad Rock: Hill, Keeton, Booker not the best...
- Randy Hollis: Utah's Perrins is one of the...
- Mendenhall: BYU's 2015 schedule difficult...
- Dick Harmon: Big 12 expansion talk... 108
- Ute football team picked to finish 5th... 54
- Utah makes top 7 for 4-star offensive... 50
- Morning links: BYU, Utah and Utah State... 44
- 4-star basketball recruit Connor... 32
- Whittingham dishes on stadium... 27
- 5 things to look for as BYU heads into... 22
- Guard Elijah Bryant announces he is... 21