All the build up, all the waiting,all the hype and just like Christmas, the first game came and went in a flash.
Thursday night, the Utah Utes came out victorious and now we don’t have to hear about HARBAUGH and his khakis anymore!
*Please be advised I am not an expert nor do I claim to be one. The thoughts and opinions are mine and I encourage all my readers to express themselves and share their thoughts and opinions (whether you agree or disagree) as well.*
Offensive Recap and Thoughts:
The Utes looked like a team that was trying to be more balanced. They definitely looked more balanced than all of last season. On a lot of their drives I thought they had a good mix of run/pass.
Honestly I didn’t expect Booker to rush for 100yds against Michigan because I knew Michigan’s front seven would make it pretty difficult on the Utes but I did expect him to show the same versatility as last season and show that he is a multipurpose back. (Over 100 multipurpose yards and 1TD) I would have liked to see Joseph Williams involved a lot more in the offense. Williams gives the Utes a nice change of pace back and his speed makes him a threat to take one to the house anytime he gets outside.
Travis Wilson looked good Thursday night. He looked confident and poised in the pocket, his decision making was a lot better and he didn’t play like he was looking over his shoulder about to lose his job. The passing game is still a work in progress, the Utes still aren’t implementing vertical routes. Wilson did some good things through the air and on his feet. Yes, he threw one interception at the end of the first half but I blame that on the horrendous clock management and play calling. I would’ve liked to see Kendal Thompson with a package or two but I understand the Utes were just trying to get out of the “Harbaugh Circus” with a W.
Out of all the receivers I didn’t expect Britain Covey to lead the team in receiving yards but Covey showed us all why the Utes coaching staff and his teammates are so high on him, dudes a player! The Utes still aren’t utilizing their receivers. I don’t know if it’s a trust issue or what but when you have guys like Kenneth Scott and Tim Patrick (I know he didn’t play) take some chances. Watching BYU today made me envious of their passing game. Scott in particular has proven if you throw it up he’s coming down with it guaranteed. I was happy to see the tight ends get some work. Hopefully Moeai isn’t out for the season but if he happens to be, Fakailoatonga and Handley are more than capable of filling in. Overall I would have liked to see more especially from the receivers.
The Offensive line played okay. They were up against a tough Michigan defense but I think they held their own pretty well for the first game. I would’ve loved to see more holes open up for the run game and better pass blocking but overall they did okay.
Overall it was a pretty good first game offensively. I liked that they opened up against a tough team rather than a gimme. Opening up against tougher opponents seems to give more of an accurate depiction of where the team is and what they need to improve upon to get better.
Offensive MVP: Travis Wilson- played well, showed promise, made good decisions, showed leadership
Defensive Recap and Thoughts:
Where was Sack Lake City?
I expected the Utes Defensive Line to DOMINATE Michigan’s Offensive Line and really put A LOT of pressure on Rudock but for some reason that element of the game was missing Thursday night. The Defensive Line didn’t play bad but I expected more. Rudock did have a lot of time to make his throws and IF he would have been even somewhat accurate, the Utes might have found themselves in a little bit of a hole. When pressured Rudock was not good so I am surprised the Utes didn’t bring more heat.
Linebacker play was what I expected. The Utes have three Senior linebackers and I thought they all played well. Whittingham had a couple of missed tackles that would’ve resulted in TFLs and Paul made a couple of mistakes getting personal fouls but other than that I thought the play of the linebackers was solid.
The Defensive Backfield played pretty well despite giving up 100yds to a WR and 93yds to a TE. There were a couple of miscues and mistakes that Michigan could’ve capitalized on but thankfully they didn’t. I thought the Corners played pretty good. Butler-Byrd had a pick, he also had a couple of miscues but overall for his first game as a Ute I was impressed by his skills. Reginald Porter is a great cover corner and played extremely well when he wasn’t cramping up. I think the Utes did miss the experience of Hatfield but I believe that the play of the corners will improve as the weeks go on.
The combo of Tevin Carter and Marcus Williams proved to be quite good. Williams had a pick, Carter was his usual productive self and Nickelback Justin Thomas did what he always does- make plays.
There were some scary moments for the DB’s where I thought- “If these guys were facing a more accurate QB and some better WR’s this might not be too pretty” but those thoughts were after Rudock missed wide open receivers that could’ve resulted in touchdowns.
Overall the defense played pretty well. They didn’t play as well as I expected but they didn’t play bad either. Winning the turnover battle was huge. Three interceptions is BIG!!! Just a few seasons ago the Utes couldn’t get any picks. That stop on 4th and 1 was AMAZING!!!
Defensive MVP: Justin Thomas- pick 6 was the play of the game
Special Teams Recap and Thoughts:
Automatic Andy had an off night and missed a couple of field goals. Tough pill to swallow but he will bounce back.
Tom Hackett had some good punts, his last punt was definitely inside the 5. His best game? No but he’s still the best Punter in football.
Didn’t get to see much from the return game. No kick returns at all. Covey had one 14yd punt return but he didn’t get to show much either.
Coverage on kickoffs and punts was good. The Utes did allow Peppers to return a kick 36yds but overall nothing too bad or too good.
Overall it was just an okay/rough night for the Special Teams. They will get back to work and be better next game.
Special Teams MVP: Hackett- had some good punts, refs robbed him on his last punt
Good first game for the Utes. Michigan is Michigan, they have talent, they have toughness and they have great coaches. The Utes still have a lot to improve upon but all in all a great victory!
This team has A LOT of heart! They will be a tough matchup for any team they face this season.
Win or lose this group of guys are going to fight!!!
What do you think?
Who were your MVPs?
Next Up: Friday vs Utah State