Utah Utes Preview Through the Eyes of an Insider

In addition to the weekly previews that we’ll do to showcase the Cougars match up that week we are going to provide you with an “insider” perspective as well.  Each week we’ll ask questions of a blogger for BYU’s opponent that week and post their answers as a post for you to read.  We’ll give you some background info and link you to their own site so you can read all the good stuff they are doing while supporting their own teams.

Week 3 – University of Utah Utes

Blog: Block U

Respondent: Sean Reynolds

Block U is another SBNation blog that is managed by Sean Reynolds.  He puts up a lot of quality content on his site so if you are a Ute fan or just interested in what’s going on with the Utes, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Many thanks to Sean for his insightful responses to our questions.

Academically Ineligible – Talk about Utah’s offense and what BYU fans should expect to see this week.

Block U – Utah’s offense is a mess right now. The quarterback spot has regressed to the point it was last year and the offensive line is a far bigger concern than at any point of the Kyle Whittingham era. Because of that, the progress Jon Hays has made since last season might be negated by poor line play. John White IV, who was the backbone of the Utes’ offense last year, is now toiling in the backfield because the line can’t create enough good holes to allow for a successful running game. While I think Hays looks far more composed in the pocket as it collapses, than Jordan Wynn did prior to his injury, he still struggles and it was pretty blatant throughout much of the second half of their game against the Aggies – as Utah’s offense had three and out after three and out once they eventually tied the game up. Hays is a serviceable quarterback, and I think he’s much better positioned to lead this team than Wynn, who, unfortunately, is just too fragile to do anything, but he has his limitations and those limitations are magnified by a poor offensive line.

AI – Talk about Utah’s defense and what BYU fans should expect to see this week.

Block U – Utah’s defense is pretty good, especially their line … but I fear they get too complacent at times and, as we saw Friday night, a bit too hot under the collar at times. I think it’s obvious they’re the best unit on the team, but a defense can only get you so far. If Utah’s offense can’t move the ball against BYU, then the defense does become a liability as its worn down over the course of a football game. We saw this against Cal last year when the offense was positively awful and, over time, the defense just broke down and the Golden Bears cruised to a victory. Right now, if Utah can’t get any traction on offense, the defense will have to play out of its mind for the Utes to win and that means forcing turnovers and dictating the flow through them.

AI – How do you think the Utes stack up against the Cougars offensively and defensively?

Block U – I think on defense they stack up well. On offense? Not well at all. I hope that changes, and I’m not going to panic after just one game, but that starts with the offensive line and, as I’ve said already, this seems to be a troubling area for the program right now. If the line can get its act together, even with Hays lining up under center, the offense can probably do just enough and the defense won’t be forced to do it all.

AI – Who are the one or two players we should watch for this week when your team lines up against the Cougars?

Block U – I’m going to cheat and say the offensive line (I know they’re more than just a couple players). I can’t stress enough how big of a concern this is for Utah … more than anything I’ve seen from this team in two games.

AI – What is the one thing that Cougar fans don’t know about the Utes that would be of interest to them to know?

Block U – Gosh, I don’t know if there is anything you don’t know about this team. I guess Kenneth Scott – he really was the only bright spot in Utah’s loss to Utah State Friday. But maybe you even know him…

AI – What is your prediction for this game and why do you feel this will be the outcome?

Block U – am not going to ever predict against the Utes. So, we’ll leave it at that.

Thanks again to Sean for his work on this post for us this week.

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