Tom Smart, Deseret News
Utah Utes offensive linesman Siaosi Aiono (60) ,Jeremiah Poutasi (73) and Latu Heimuli (68), from left, as the Univeristy of Utah and Arizona State University play PAC 12 football Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Tempe, Arizona.

SALT LAKE CITY — Offensive line is a critical position group for any offense and the Utah football team suffered from subpar play from its offensive front throughout much of last season. Despite the overall struggles, managing editor Dan Sorensen believes a lot of improvement is in store for the group as a whole.

“I believe the offensive line has a ton of potential to not just be the strength of the offense, but the strength of the entire team,” Sorensen said. “It’s a position group that didn’t perform all that well last year, but there’s a lot of depth and a lot of exciting talent that has a lot of potential.”

Headlining the offensive linemen this spring is tackle Jeremiah Poutasi (6-5, 342) who is likely to reprise his role as the team’s starting right tackle.

“Poutasi is a very good player who played really well last season as a freshman,” Sorensen said. “Coaches may move him to left tackle if another player steps up this spring at right tackle, but I think he’ll probably stay at his position. He’s probably the most-likely starter of the group this spring and someone who has a ton of upside.”

Other tackles in the mix include Carlos Lozano (6-6, 385), who has battled weight issues, Marc Pouvave (6-4, 336), Percy Taumoelau (6-4, 305) and Kala Friel (6-4, 305.) A newcomer to the mix is junior college transfer Andrew Albers, who is currently enrolled and will participate in practices this spring.

“Coaches are very high on Albers and he’ll get a good look as the potential starter at left tackle,” Sorensen said. “Overall Utah looks solid in a potential two-deep at both tackle positions and there should be good competition for spots this spring.”

At center, the Ute coaching staff will likely first look at Vyncent Jones (6-3, 300.)

“It’s going to be Jones’ job to lose,” Sorensen said. “Other guys might be in the mix before it’s all said and done, but Jones is an impressive player who will likely end up starting at center.”

At guard the promising prospects include Junior Salt (6-2, 330), and Hiva Lutui (6-2, 297), both of whom will likely see the majority of reps at left and right guard respectively.

“A lot of the tackles will get looks at guards, but overall there’s a lot of depth which will allow coaches to mix and match some different combinations,” Sorensen said. “Overall it’s a group that’s hard not to like. Coach Dave Finn is a very good offensive line coach and he should get all of these guys playing at their best, and if he does that then Utah should be very good at offensive line given the overall talent of the group.”


Twitter: @BrandonCGurney