What To Expect From Utah’s Offense In 2019
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah football team has a big target on their back now after being picked by the media to win the Pac-12 championship this season.
Like every season, Utah’s strength is on the defensive side of the ball, but with a few dynamic playmakers on the offensive side of the ball combined with the addition of Andy Ludwig as the offensive coordinator, the Utes offense is set up for a successful season on the offensive side of the ball.
They are led by a pair of seniors in quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss.
What To Expect From Huntley
Huntley has yet to play a full season for the Utes after getting an injury in each of the last two years, that is the key for Kyle Whittingham to get the most out of Huntley especially after the senior gained 25 pounds in the off-season.
“I expect a big senior year out of Tyler,” Whittingham said. “I expect him to be a team leader, we expect him to be a consistent performer week in and week out. The problem the last two years is that he hasn’t been able to finish the season. So, job one for us and him is to keep him healthy throughout the season.”
His Florida teammate Zack Moss is confident in Huntley’s ability to be even better this season.
“A guy who is going to make a lot more smart plays,” Moss said. “I think he is going to come out more laser focused than ever. He is going to lead this team the right way and Coach Ludwig definitely believes in him and we definitely do too.”
Utah wide receiver Britain Covey is impressed with how Huntley handles the spotlight.
“If there is anything that anyone needs to know about Tyler is that he is the most loved guy on the team,” Covey stated. “He genuinely for being in the spotlight, being the quarterback, being the captain, he doesn’t let any of it get to his head, and he is humble and he works hard and he is just happy. What I expect from is what I know I am going to get, I don’t expect him to do anything out of the ordinary. I just expect him to be him, because if he is himself, then we are going to be really good.”
Andy Ludwig’s Return
The question heading into the season was how quickly would Ludwig fit in and be on the same page as Huntley. Whittingham isn’t worried about that.
“It’s great to have him (Ludwig) back,” Whittingham said. “Me and him are on the same wave length in virtually every respect, he hasn’t changed a whole lot since the last time he was here. Obviously, his offense has evolved as all of college football, but as far as his attention to detail, the way he operates, his methodical approach to things hasn’t changed and I respect everything he does with his offense.”
Covey is excited about what Ludwig brings to the offensive and is already learning from him.
“Coach Ludwig is a seasoned veteran,” Covey said. “You walk in and you can feel the density in the air of just wisdom. It’s like he has done this a thousand times. I think what makes a successful offensive coordinator is that it’s one thing to know the game, but it’s a whole other thing to teach it. He is very good at both because he knows why he implements first, what’s the basis of things before you move on the next thing. You can totally tell that he knows the steps and the progression of how and when things should be implemented. That is what gives me a lot of confidence in this transition.”
Moss feels that the transition has been easy.
“It’s a lot different than what we have been running the last two years with the air raid system,” Moss added. “This is more of a pro-style offense. I like that because his mentality is run the ball and that’s not just for myself, it’s for our running back crew. We have a lot of talent in that room and we get to portray that with a lot of the guys and I really think it is going to help our defense a lot, our receivers, it will help our quarterback and our team mostly.”
Covey is confident that the new offensive coordinator is the final piece to a dynamic offense.
“We have so much talent this year,” Covey mentioned. “I said that last year and this year we have most of our guys returning. You get that with an offensive coordinator with that much experience, I feel like we will be very dynamic and they won’t be able to really predict what we are going to do.
Whittingham didn’t hesitate to answer what the biggest question mark on offense is.
“Offensive line,” Whittingham stated. “We still have to find a couple more answers up front, we have some graduate transfers that are joining us, we have a junior college player that we hope is going to join us. If their is anybody that you want to put that responsibility on, it is Jim Harding (offensive line coach).”
The Utes lost most of their starting offensive linemen to graduation last season, so they have to figure out the next group to step in and protect Tyler Huntley and open gaps for Zack Moss.
“Coach Harding has done a great job filling those spots for those guys,” Moss said. “They are still growing, as they should and I think they will be ready.”
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