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Will Utah Use Spring Football As A Time To Bolster Its Passing Game?

Quarterback Charlie Brewer #5 of the Baylor Bears throws the ball in the second half of the play at Jack Trice Stadium on November 07, 2020 in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa State Cyclones won 38-31 over the Baylor Bears. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Quarterback play with very few exceptions has been Utah’s achilles heel during the Kyle Whittingham era. For every Brian Johnson and Tyler Huntley, there is a Jordan Wynn, John Hayes, or Chase Hansen.

With spring football just about to start for Utah, all eyes will be on former Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer who is in Salt Lake City as a grad transfer. In his time with the Bears, he had 65 touchdowns to just 28 interceptions. In 2019 as the starter, he led Baylor to a top 15 finish and an appearance in a Sugar Bowl.

With Jake Bentley transferring out of the program and Cam Rising out with a shoulder injury, this will allow for Brewer to take the overwhelming majority, if not all, of the first-team reps to learn this Utah offense. With the majority of the offensive starters back, it will make things easier for Brewer to know his teammates while he is on the path to being the starting quarterback for the Utes in the fall of 2021.

Will Whittingham Embrace The Passing Attack?

Anyone who has even casually followed Whittingham’s career as the Utah head coach knows his principles are defense and running the ball. The offense took quite the turn when Urban Meyer left in 2004 and also the rotating door of offensive coordinators are telling for this Ute offense over the past 15 years with Whittingham on the sideline.

Also, he calls the passing game the clunky and awkward “throw game” when discussing the passing game week in and week out. Now, with Brewer under center, is this the year that Whittingham will allow his offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig to throw the ball a bit more than normal?

The Utes are going to have a new running back since Ty Jordan, unfortunately, passed away and all of the receivers are back so now would be the time to let the ball fly and use that experienced talent.

KSL Sports Scott Mitchell gives his overview of the Ute program and how the unfortunate injury to Rising will actually help this offense and allow Brewer to have a chance to get comfortable with the offense.

“I was just so disappointed that Cam Rising was injured halfway through the first game he’s playing, and you’re just like this a waste, it’s a waste for this offense,” Mitchell said. “Then here comes Charlie Brewer, who played at Baylor, very successful, very capable at really being a dual-threat quarterback with legitimately being able to throw the football and legitimately being able to run the football.

“With him being injured, it really is the best thing for this program. Cam Rising, because now you have Charlie Brewer, who’s going to be able to go through an entire spring football practice, an entire fall camp, an entire non-conference schedule, an easy home opener against Washington State before Utah gets into its tough part of the schedule against USC in Los Angeles.”

Allowing Brewer to ease into the starting job and not have to fight for playing time with Rising could ultimately be a good thing for the Utes despite being a bad thing with Rising being hurt. Getting a new quarterback with so much experience like Brewer and allow him to work with teammates as the starter is very valuable.

The only question left is will the offensive staff at least crack the door to the offense and air it out at least a little bit. If the Utes were to have at the very least an above-average passing game to go along with its typical dominant defense, then Utah should be a contender every year to be in the Pac-12 title game.

Utah now has the time to implement an upgraded, as Whittingham says, a “throw game” during spring practices.

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