New offensive coordinator. New offense. Starting quarterback out while recovering from surgery. Two quarterbacks that have thrown a total of 1 college football pass combined. All the ingredients were there for a shaky spring out of the quarterbacks and that's exactly what we got as sophomore Griff Robles and true freshman Tyler Shreve struggled throughout in picking up Norm Chow's offense and running it effectively.
Going into the spring, the more experienced Robles, who saw mop-up duty in 2010, mostly as a running quarterback, appeared to have the edge over the incoming freshman Shreve, but Shreve quickly showed that he is the superior quarterback with physical tools and abilities that Robles just doesn't possess.
The youngster Shreve, taking his first practice snaps since his senior year of high school in 2009, looked more and more poised and comfortable with the offense as the sessions and camp went along, despite not always having success hooking up with his receivers. While he's not a real threat to unseat Jordan Wynn as the starter anytime soon, Shreve does look like he could be the quarterback of the future in Utah and with more time learning Chow's offense in the offseason, could very well be the best option off the bench during the season should Wynn suffer another injury or show ineffectiveness. And while he did progress as a passer throughout camp and was picking the offense up better than Robles, there were some inexplicable throws made in practice and scrimmages at times that left you scratching your head. The upside to that? Shreve was always willing to talk to the coaches after a mistake and attempt to learn. Showed a lot of maturity for a young player and is definitely going to be an asset to this team in 2011.
Robles was the disappointment of the spring. With his big frame, running ability, and cannon for an arm that allows him to throw longer than anyone else on the roster, most figured he'd easily hold off Shreve for the backup spot to Wynn. It wasn't to be as Robles struggled mightily, throwing interceptions at an alarming rate, missing open targets, and failing to pick up the new offense as easily as one might expect for a player in his third year with the team. The offseason is going to be huge for Robles who needs to step up his game or he'll be subject to mop-up duty again for the remainder of his career at Utah.
In the spring game Shreve led his red team to victory despite going 9 of 20 for 121 yards, 1 touchdown and an interception. Robles wasn't any better going 11-23 for 74 yards and an interception while failing to generate any points for his team. Both of these performances come without many of the top level defensive players participating. That has to be a concern for head Coach Kyle Whittingham and Norm Chow. That said, they both know that with more than three months until fall camp opens, the quarterbacks will have plenty of time to work on soaking up the offense and to work on their timing in voluntary workouts with their receivers in the offseason.
The biggest question mark going into the offseason is going to be how much starter Jordan Wynn took in during his time on the sidelines and in a limited amount of practice during spring ball. Wynn's a heady player who works hard on his game, but not being able to throw in camp was noticeably frustrating for the starter. If he can get his arm-strength and timing back over the summer while continuing to study the offense, the Utes should be comfortable going into fall camp at the quarterback position.
Overall Spring Camp Positions Grade: D
InsideTheUtes projected depth chart heading into fall camp:
Stay tuned to InsideTheUtes for more spring ball position grades and analysis.
Spring Recap- Quarterback
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