Spring Position Battles: Offense

With six starting spots open on the offensive side of the ball for the Utes, spring camp is going to be intense as new and returning players battle for their right to start. We've got your candidates, favorites, darkhorses, and projected winners at each spot...

Candidates: Griff Robles, Tyler Shreve and J.J. Hyde
Favorite: Robles
Dark Horse: Hyde
Winner: Robles

This is more of a competition for the backup QB spot. If Jordan Wynn is healthy, he'll be the starter, but until then, these guys will battle it out for the majority of the snaps. We've never really seen Robles throw the ball in a game, and we haven't seen Shreve at all. Hyde probably won't make much noise, but he'll get a few reps. If Shreve comes out and shows maturity and command of the offense, he could easily overtake Robles as the backup to Wynn. With Griff having been in the program for a couple of years, he has the edge and should be able to hold off Shreve, but the unknown that is Shreve should make it interesting.

Running Back
Candidates: Harvey Langi, John White, Beau Burton, Luke Matthews
Favorites: Langi
Dark Horse: Matthews
Winner: Burton

Experience! Experience! Experience! Beau Burton is the only one with experience at the division 1 level carrying the ball. Most of that was in mop-up duty, but it is game experience nonetheless. Most people are expecting Harvey Langi to come in right away and take that spot, and he very well may do that. The coaches expect him to be a huge factor. John White's speed is going to get him carries, even if it's in somewhat of a scat-back role. He's very elusive though and has that JC experience that will help him prove that he's an every-down back. The unknown is going to be Luke Matthews. I still think he's a better fit at wide receiver, but I also thought that Mike Dunleavy Jr. would eventually be the best player in the NBA coming out of Duke and that Matt Leinart was the most NFL ready QB coming out of college since Peyton Manning so occasionally I'm wrong. While Langi will be given the best opportunity to win the job as that may be the best thing for the program with him having four years still to play, I still like the experience of Burton come the end of camp. This will probably change by the time fall camp comes around though.

Wide Receiver (3 spots)
Candidates: Devonte Christopher, Dexter Ransom, Griff McNabb, Kenneth Scott, Mo Lee, Reggie Dunn, Dres Anderson, Luke Matthews (maybe)
Favorites: Christopher, Dunn, Ransom
Dark Horses: Lee, Scott
Winners: Christopher, Dunn, Matthews

If the Luke Matthews move to running back sticks, then all three wide receiver spots will be open. Christopher is going to nab one of those. You can put that down in permanent marker. The other two spots are wide open. With Anthony Denham not arriving until the summer, he won't factor into this competition at the moment, but will have a huge say when he arrives on campus. Reggie Dunn is the fastest player on the team (although John White is going to give him a run for his money) and needs to be on the field. He's got to be considered one of the frontrunners to win a starting role. Griff McNabb was arguably the team MVP in spring ball in 2010 and shot up into the two deep coming out of spring last year. It didn't translate into a ton of playing time last year, but if he does what he did in 2010 spring ball, he'll make a run at getting back into that two deep. If Dexter Ransom is ever given the chance to catch the ball, and proves that he can do so, he could be a difference maker. All he did last year though was block. Kenneth Scott is still recovering from a major injury and may not be at full strength. If he is close though, he's a big time talent. Mo Lee will finally be unleashed this year after redshirting in 2010. He'll get a strong look. I still think Matthews goes back to wide receiver and holds down the same spot he did last year.

Both Offensive Guard Spots
Candidates: Isaac Asiata, Percy Tuamoelau, Ron Tongaonevai, Vyncent Jones, Jeremiah Tofaeono, Sam Brenner, Kapua Sai, Zach Bolton
Favorites: Tuamoelau, Brenner, Sai
Dark Horses: Tongaonevai and Asiata
Winnesr: Asiata and Brenner

With Tevita Stevens moving over to center both guard spots are now open. Trying to project who is going to win each of these position battles is very difficult to do when so many players are so close in ability. Brenner has experience and was one of the first guys off of the bench in 2010. I'm confident in him taking home one of the spots, most likely at right guard. Outside of that, it's anybody's guess. Tuamoelau, Tofaeono and Sai are young guys that have a lot of potential. I like Tofaeono a lot and think he'll be a very good one down the road. The guy I'm the biggest fan of though is Asiata. Because he's a true freshmen, he can't be considered anything but a darkhorse. Despite his freshman status, he doesn't look like one, and doesn't work like one. He'll outwork everyone else on the offensive line and win that job.

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