Utah’s offense last year definitely was not a strong suit. Jordan Wynn, the Utes’ starter for the previous two years went down with a shoulder injury, against Washington that sidelined him for the rest of the year. After Wynn got hurt, it appeared that Norm Chow—for the first time in his illustrious career—became afraid to pass the ball. With their new, one dimensional offense, the Utes they closed out the season 6-4, and won their bowl game against the “Ramblin’ Wreck”. Many things have changed this offseason. The Utes will be going with a spread offensive attack, Brian Johnson is the new offensive coordinator, and one of the best recruiting classes (on paper) in recent Ute history will make its debut. But which players will make the biggest impact? I present you with the 5 most important players (in random order) for the Ute offense.
5. DeVonte Christopher
How important is DeVonte to the Utes this year? Not only did he lead the team in receiving yards, and touchdowns, but he nearly doubled the closest competitor. At USC, DeVonte had more catches, and the exact same amount as USC’s two best receivers combined! He also had the most clutch catch of the season against Georgia Tech to tie the game at the end of regulation. DeVonte is Utah’s best deep threat, and the best chance to spread the field in Utah’s new offense.
4. Coleman Petersen
Some might say that he’s not technically an offensive player, but if he’s putting points on the board, than I consider it to be offense. He was Utah’s 2nd leading scorer this last year, and certainly outperformed expectations throughout the year. The former Brighton Bengal performed so well that Coach Whittingham gave him a scholarship after he walked on as a Freshman last year. The Utes lost two games in which the kicking game could have improved last year. With the expected improvement, Petersen can turn those losses into wins.
3. Jordan Wynn
Wynn didn’t perform to expectation his sophomore year (although the team went 10-3, 7-1 in conference play). Many were frustrated with his performance after 2010. In 2011, after Wynn had undergone surgery on his shoulder, it was clear that he had lost some strength in his throwing arm. He made up for it, however, by playing smart. Utah didn’t throw downfield very often with the pro-style offense Norm Chow had implemented last year, and it probably played to Jordan’s strengths. He had a 3-1 touchdown to interception ratio, and led a drive that nearly tied the game at USC. Wynn’s arm is reportedly improving every day, and having a former QB as his new offensive coordinator should help.
2. Percy Taumoelau
This spot really goes to whomever is the starting left tackle at the beginning of the season, and since Percy is starting on the spring depth chart, it goes to him. The left tackle will be protecting the fragile Jordan Wynn from any huge blindsided hits which could potentially lead to substantial time out for the starting quarterback. Utah’s offensive line traditionally is very well coached, and it shows by the numerous lineman that are currently playing in the NFL.
1.John White IV
The Wolfman had to be on the list. He was the staple of the offense last year. I still don’t know how a guy his size, with as many carries as he got, didn’t get hurt. White was ninth in the nation in rushing yards last year, and had 15 touchdown carries. This year he might split carries with a bigger Kelvin York, who originally committed to USC. The duo could be similar to what we saw in 2010 with Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide. John White was crucial to the Utes success last year, and even scored the last touchdown of the season, the game winner against Georgia Tech. As John White goes, so go the Utes. It was true last year, and should remain true throughout his senior campaign.
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