2013 Position Review: Quarterback

Taking a look at how the quarterback position unfolded in 2013

Another year. Another disappointment at the quarterback spot. For the FIFTH straight season, your starter in game one was not the starter in the final game. The injury bug has Utah quarterbacks snakebit, moreso than any position group for any team in the history of college football. At this point, Utah QBs should run and hide.

It wasn't all doom and gloom, as things started off fairly well. Through four games, Utah was 3-1, and Travis Wilson looked to be inserting himself into the upper half of the Pac 12 quarterback race. A huge statistical game against Oregon State, where he threw the team on his shoulders, engineering a big comeback with both his arm and his legs. The following week, against a tough BYU defense, Wilson managed the game well, and looked as poised as any Utah quarterback in years.

Then the second quarter rolled around against UCLA. Six interceptions. In three quarters. Wilson was never the same again. Sure, he was instrumental in the upset over Stanford, but overall, things were never the same after UCLA. An injury to his hand led to poor play and more interceptions. Ultimately, a concussion against Arizona State knocked Wilson out for the year. The concussion though, may be a blessing in disguise as it led to the discovery of a condition in Wilson's brain. This find may ultimately save his life. There's a chance he'll be able to return to football at some point, but you'd have to think that his career is likely over.

Adam Schulz stepped in once Wilson went down. There was growth, but still struggles as Schulz took his first meaningful snaps. USC was a disaster, and Arizona wasn't much better. By the time the sophomore took over full-time against Oregon, he'd made some strides, but an overall lack of talent limited his ability to be successful. It was Jon Hays all over again.

The Utes chose to keep the redshirts on all three freshmen quarterbacks this season. Conner Manning danced around the depth chart after Wilson's injury, and while their were thoughts on giving him a shot at times due to either poor play by Schulz, or Schulz taking a big hit, the coaches made the right move in maintaining the redshirt. Brandon Cox was never an option, and Micah Thomas will probably get one more shot at quarterback in the spring, but a position move at some point is a near certainty.

The cupboard isn't bare as there are plenty of players, and plenty of talent on the roster, and coming in. The issue has been healthy and development. Brian Johnson, in four years as the quarterbacks coach, has failed to yield anything less than an overall disappointment out of the position yet. Players have not improved at the rate that is necessary in the Pac 12. Is that on Wilson as a coach, Utah as a program in missing on their recruiting evaluations, or on the players for not putting in the time? If 2014 is anything like the last five years, especially the last two, the coaching staff will need to take a long hard look in the mirror at how they handle the quarterback spot.

Beginning Depth Chart
Travis Wilson (So)
Adam Schulz (R-So)
Conner Manning (Fr)
Brandon Cox (Fr)
Micah Thomas (Fr)

Ending Depth Chart
Adam Schulz (R-So)
Conner Manning (Fr)
Brandon Cox (Fr)
Micah Thomas (Fr)

Early Spring Projected Depth Chart
Adam Schulz (R-Jr)
Conner Manning (R-Fr)
Brandon Cox (R-Fr)
Micah Thomas (R-Fr)

Way Too Early Fall Projected Depth Chart
Conner Manning (R-Fr)
Adam Schulz (R-Jr)
Brandon Cox (R-Fr)
Donovan Isom (Fr)


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