We wanted to try something a little different as this off-season is getting underway. We asked ten questions of some of our most loyal Ute fans about the state of the Utah football program as well as what they say in 2012 and hope to see in 2013.
Many of you who follow this blog will know our good friends of the blog Dog and Deuce already. But there are a few new faces. Kyle Ariotti and Matt Coleman are co-workers of mine. Dave Richards is a long time friend and his brother Rob and I have had many spirited debates about BYU and Utah sports. But most importantly, each is a dedicated and passionate Utah football fan.
We will post one question with each response every day for the next ten weekdays. Make sure to check in every day to get your University of Utah Utes update from our roundtable of Utah loyalists.
Matt Coleman – Both talent and coaching led to the team’s shortcomings. Many players were not put in the right schemes to have successful plays. Additionally, the play calling was extremely inconsistent. While the talent is obviously not on par with most of the PAC, I think the talent will continue to improve each year, but good recruits won’t change much if there is not good coaching. And again, like I stated before, Brian Johnson MUST establish an identity for the offense going into next season.
Allen “Dog” Martindale – I think it’s pretty obvious that I put most of the blame on coaching. The Utes have enough talent to be competitive; the coaches seem to be the ones having difficulty adjusting to the better conference. Unfortunately I’m not sure a lot will be done in the offseason to reverse the current trend. I don’t see Brian Johnson being replaced and I have seen nothing out of Kyle Whittingham to suggest that he will change his ways.
Dave Richards – I think is was mostly the players not performing up to their abilities which could be a symbol of not being coached up to their best. In the case of the USC game we just couldn’t keep up with the speed of the wideouts.
Kyle Ariotti – I think a little of both. Very young in various positions including our offensive coordinator. I expect the one year of experience to help our young people out a lot and we should hopefully see some improvements next year.
Rob Richards – Both. Coaches own the wins/losses, but the players need to make the plays. I think overall, it’s an issue of talent, but not at Utah. ASU receives can run those slants over the middle all day long and Ute linebackers can’t keep up or cover them. Recruiting athletes and depth will take a little time, but coaching and schemes can win games as you get there. (To fix this, they will need to) recruit and evaluate personnel. I’m not sure that answer is any different than 98% of other universities.
James “Deuce” Dyer – To me its probably a combination of inexperience and coaching not a lack of talent. The Utes were young at QB and LB and when push came to shove the good teams they faced exploited those weaknesses like good teams should, the most disappointing part of this season was the seeming unwillingness of the coach staff to adjust their weekly game plan to the players they had available to them i.e. refusing to run the ball, try to get pressure on opposing teams QB with blitz packages and a lack of discipline (penalties) that changed momentum. In my opinion this is a top down structure and we have to ask Coach Whittingham why he could, wouldn’t or chose not address these problems with both the coaches and players.