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Ute football: Nine unresolved issues face the Utes going forward

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

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John "The Wolfman" White IV was in attendance at Saturday's scrimmage, though most of the Utah faithful would rather see him in shoulder pads and a red uniform than in the front row.

There's no question that White has been the most consistent aspect of Utah's offense as the Utes transitioned into the Pac-12. Their power scheme has revolved around him and his ability to move the ball.

So now that White has moved out of the Utah program, who's going to carry the load? The easy answer: No one knows.

Kelvin York hasn't participated much in Utah's spring camp due to a turf toe injury, and he was the only running back who received meaningful carries during the 2012 season, other than White. York appeared in Saturday's scrimmage, running the ball seven times for 35 yards.

Karl Williams got the bulk of the carries last week, averaging 10 yards per carry, but when the Utes suit up for real this fall, who can say which of Utah's running backs will earn the No. 1 spot?

For his part, Adam Schulz, right in the midst of a race for the starting quarterback position — more on him later — was very complimentary of the offensive backfield Saturday.

"We were basically able to run it down their throat," he said.
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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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