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Will Utah Football’s Wide Receivers Finally Live Up To Expectation?

University of Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig during fall camp. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The year 2020 has been strange, to say the least. From the abrupt passing of Kobe Bryant to the more recent novel coronavirus that has caused a global pandemic, 2020 is wanting to be forgotten. The year could get stranger in the fall for University of Utah football fans, depending on how their offense responds to some key losses and a presumed change in identity.

For the first time in many years, Utah will attempt to replace their starting quarterback and running back, a recipe for disaster, some might assume. But under the guidance of second-year offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, how will Utah’s offense attempt to rebound from a very impressive 2019 campaign?

The strength of Utah’s offense has been the running back. The Utes have also been fortunate to boast a rather impressive offensive line over the years as well. The combination is daunting. Utah has dared teams to stop the run, almost wanting them to load up eight guys in the box. 2020 seems poised to be vastly different.

As the season approaches many predict that Utah’s running back’s will share the brunt of the load. Devin Brumfield is currently the favorite to secure the most snaps, with Jordan Wilmore hot on his heels. Behind Wilmore lies TJ Green and freshman Ty Jordan.

Pass Catching Threats

Furthermore, it seems likely that the strength of the Utah offense in 2020 will be the pass catchers, headlined by tight-end Brant Kuithe.

Kuithe gobbled 34 receptions for 602 yards in 2019 as he burst onto the scene.

Wide-receivers Samson Nacua, Jaylen Dixon, Solomon Enis, Bryan Thompson and Britain Covey all seem poised to help lead the Utes to victory in 2020.

In a recent interview with Tom Hackett, Covey shared insight into his ACL and meniscus recovery. Stating that he is as fast as he has ever been on 40 yards, does not have any more swelling and does not think about his knee when he is out running routes during practice.

Play To Your Strengths

Offensive Coordinator Andy Ludwig has been very public about his offensive philosophy. His strategic gameplan simply revolves around the strength of his players. For example, when Ludwig was in charge of the Wisconsin offense in 2014, he opted to hand the football off to his running back Melvin Gordon 343 times. They threw the football on just 177 occasions, and for good reason.

Gordon ran for 2,587 yards for the Badgers in 2014 and ended up being the 15th player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Playing to your strengths has worked in Ludwig’s favor over the course of his illustrious coaching years.

Assuming that Ludwig continues to follow his track record, the Utah wide receivers will be asked to bear the brunt of the offensive load in 2020. A task that they have not been familiar with for a number of years.

Can Utah continue to dominate the Pac-12 South despite changing offensive strategy?

Listen to It’s Utah’s World to learn more about what Tom Hackett and Steve Bartle think.

The Podcast

Former University of Utah punter, Tom Hackett, alongside Utah insider Steve Bartle join forces to deliver the most informative, entertaining and enjoyable Utah Football related podcast. From recruiting news to inside the locker room stories, Hackett and Bartle will keep you up to date with the happenings of Utah football. A serious podcast about men strapped in protection that can occasionally turn frivolous, well, only if local Salt Lake City food destinations gets brought up. We digress, if you are a fan of Utah football, or just football in general, click subscribe and let the good times roll!

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Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.