Utah football: 10 critical players on the Utes defensive two-deep
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.
Though they may not all start this fall, here are 10 Utes to carefully follow on the defensive side of the football if Utah is to be successful this year.
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
- President Monson rededicates Ogden Utah Temple
- Leo Tolstoy's view of Mormons as teaching...
- Sorensen: Rare for both BYU and Utah to be...
- 'The Locator' Troy Dunn keeps working to...
- Bingham High students walk out over dress code
- Little Emmanuel's journey home a tale of...
- The photos from the seats and the sideline...
- BYU moves up one spot in AP poll, heads into...
- Utes leave the Big House with a large... 139
- BYU moves up to No. 20/21 in the AP and... 89
- Brad Rock: LaVell, McBride not OK with... 76
- Sorensen: Rare for both BYU and Utah to... 70
- Big plays lift No. 21 BYU past Virginia 53
- Utah football enemy camp: 5 questions... 46
- Ex-Ute gets gift of life with new heart... 32
- Dick Harmon: Virginia tries for upset,... 29