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Ute football: Nine unresolved issues face the Utes going forward

Published: Tuesday, April 16 2013 9:12 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Everybody has eyes on Ute quarterback Travis Wilson's development, but that's not the only compelling storyline in Utah's football camp this spring.

Wilson's development will be key to the success of Utah's on-the-field product to be sure, so it is with good reason that U. fans want to know how he has progressed. There are, however, several other cogs in the machine that may make or break the Utes in 2013.

Whether it be the linebackers, the offensive line, the receivers or special teams, no one position group is completely absent of intrigue. Some problems the Utes are staring down will be resolved shortly; others may persist all the way to December, especially if injuries come into play.

With all that's been said of Utah's upcoming third year in the Pac-12, here are nine storylines that may have flown under the radar, plus a little treat for Ute football fans at the end:

Landon Hemsley is the sports content manager for DeseretNews.com. Email: lhemsley@deseretnews.com. Twitter: @EarlOfHemsley

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RBN
Salt Lake City, UT

I would add three other unresolved issues:

1) Will the D tackle replacements be able to replicate the efforts of past DTs?
2) Will we see improvement, preferably substantial, from the O line?
3) How will the new cornerbacks, a key to Utah's scheme, play?

Naval Vet
Philadelphia, PA

"Brian Blechen, among the most talented defenders on the Utah roster, is expected to make the full-time switch from safety to linebacker this season." -- Landon Hemsley

I thought it'd already been reported last year that Blechen was having difficulty putting on, and keeping, the requisite weight to be successful at the LB position, so why are we moving him from the Safety spot? Are we so deep there, and so thin at LB, that the switch is necessary?

RBN
Salt Lake City, UT

Blechen was really pretty horrible at pass coverage last year. I suspect that in the pass happy PAC12, Utah needs better pass coverage from it's strong safety, hence the move to linebacker. That said, he was not the best at shedding blockers two seasons ago when he played more linebacker than safety. Should be interesting.

ImaCaMan
Oceanside, CA

Great job Landon and KSL. Can't wait till fall.

gonefishn
Salt Lake City, UT

Blechen's Switch to LB is a good one. He is much better suited for covering TE's and RB's versus WR's like Marques Lee plus his instincts and big play ability are sorely needed at that position. At safety he was a touch slow at LB he will actually bring the lateral speed that was missing last year.

CougFaninTX
Frisco, TX

I'm surprised the D Line was not listed. I'm still left wondering after the scrimmage if the running game is really as good as reported, or just a function of a weak D Line. Star and Krueger are big losses.

clehman
Sandy, UT

Thank you for the special treat, D. News and KSL.

Fight On!
St George, Utah

A few things that can be taken away from Spring Reports:
#1- Defense has given up a LOT of running yards. 3/4 string RB Carl Williams ran for over 100yds in the last scrimmage.
#2- QB play is still struggling. Maybe due to improvement in the secondary, but Wilson has not been impressive this Spring.
#3- It is hard to know if RB production is more due to improved play by the O-line and RB's or just a big drop off along the d-line.
#4- Secondry looks to be reloading after losing both starting corners. But once again this could be due to poor WR/QB play.
#5- The 2013 recruiting class is already making an impact. Shows recruiting in PAC-12 is improving.

Spring football is mainly to allow coaches to make adjustments to personell, give walk-ons and new recruits the opportunity to prove themselves, and determine position depth and target needs for recruiting. Nobody should put too much weight on Spring Reports. In my opinion, Utah will have another losing season in 2013-14 (With toughest schedule in school history) before making a jump in '14-'15 or '15-'16

FL UTE
LARGO, FL

Nice job, Earl of Hemsley, describing the state of the team during spring ball. Good to see the boys in red get fired up. (Hope the offense gets juiced up more than they seem right now!)

Another question is, with Star L. departing for the NFL, what to expect from the D-line/pass rush?

We'll get some answers August 29th, USU vs UofU... GOOOOO UTES!

ApacheNaiche
PINETOP, AZ

Read my lips "Quarterback".

Gilmore in Milford
Spanish Fork, UT

We will have the best speed in the Pac 12 for sure

U 90
Corona, CA

Biggest question marks are QB, LB and maybe DL. O-line was an issue last year due to injury. Should see improvement this year as those players are now healthy.

Gilmore, that's actually a pretty funny play off of Mildred in Fillmore. While we all know Utah will not have the best speed in the PAC 12, they will have more speed than your team.

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