Utah's quarterbacks are set — what about their receivers?
Sunk by the loss of quarterback Jordan Wynn to a season-ending shoulder injury, Utah’s receivers combined for just 1,369 yards in their final nine contests of 2011 (152 per game). That was last in the Pac-12 in passing offense.
Of course, the story was the same last year. Following the early season loss of Wynn, the Utes again brought up the conference rear with 191 passing yards per game. After leading the Utes in receptions in 2010 and 2011, since-graduated DeVonte Christopher vanished last fall, ranking just fourth on the team in receptions.
To be fair, Christopher is now a member of the Washington Redskins, so quarterback issues were probably the root issue. (Head coach Kyle Whittingham and 26-year-old offensive coordinator Brian Johnson used not one but two signal-callers after losing Wynn.) But now, the Utes are apparently deep under center. Whittingham said he may have witnessed sophomore Travis Wilson play the best spring game of any signal-caller in his 19 years on the hill. Wilson’s backup, Adam Schulz, Whittingham says, may also be among the “upper echelon” of Pac-12 quarterbacks, and he’s only listed as a co-backup with Brandon Cox. The strong play of all three, including freshman Connor Manning, reportedly continued in fall practices.
That leaves the receivers with responsibility to improve upon two dismal years if the Utes expect to begin another streak of nine straight bowl appearances. Whittingham, Johnson and new co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson — a nomad himself — needed stability here. With recent dismissals and academic issues, they’re far from it. But sufficient (even reportedly spectacular) wide-outs and tight ends return, with backups perhaps making the difference if they can compete with the other second-stringers in the highly offensive Pac-12.
Here's a closer look at what the receivers are up against and who Travis Wilson will be targeting this year.
Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for UtahPolicy.com and hails the true-blooded Aggies from Utah. The co-founder of magazine Aggie BluePrint.com, he's been an intern for the Deseret News and other publications. firstname.lastname@example.org | @wilklogan
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