Season in Review: Quarterback

Looking back at the QB position for the Utes in 2014

The Stats
(Jr) Travis Wilson: 190-313 (60.7%), 2,170 yards 18 TDs, 5 INTs
(Jr) Kendal Thompson: 32-52 (61.5%), 324 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
(Fr) Conner Manning: 2-6 (33.3%), 28 yards, 1 INT
(Fr) Brandon Cox: 3-3 (100%), 17 yards
(Jr) Adam Schulz: 2-2 (100%), 31 yards.
(Jr) Jason Thompson: 0-1

The Breakdown
Let's be honest here. It wasn't pretty at the quarterback spot for the Utes in 2014. With the overall play they got out of Wilson and company, it's amazing that this team was able to win 9 games when the play of the most important position on the field was arguably the worst in the Pac 12. Wilson threw for 174 yards per game against P5 foes with only 11 touchdowns passes in those games. We continued to see glimpses of Wilson making incredible plays or late game heroics, but too often they were mixed with inconsistency. Interceptions were down this year, and that's definitely a positive. But, were they down because Wilson was so afraid of turning the ball over that he didn't try to make plays and instead opted to run, throw it out of bounds, or take a sack too often? Whitt hammered home that Utah could't turn the ball over this year, and they didn't through the air, but the lack of creative play calling in letting Wilson grip it and rip it, which is the type of QB that Travis is, seemed to be detrimental in hurting his confidence and making the offense very one dimensional. Now, if we're going to be critical, we have to look at the positives as well. Thompson against UCLA was a stud. He didn't have to do much, but he did just enough to take the load off of Booker and keep the Bruins on their toes with his own legs. Utah doesn't win that game if Wilson stays in. Wilson made some big throws and did just enough in multiple games to get Utah wins (think USC, Colorado). If Utah wants to come close to replicating the 9 wins of 2014, they'll need better and more consistent overall quarterback play in 2015. Having one guy start every game wouldn't hurt either.

Reason For Optimism in 2015
Everyone is back. On paper, every single quarterback on the roster has eligibility remaining and can return. Throw in Donovan Isom and Chase Hansen next season and there are options. Now, it's safe to assume that not everyone will be back, and that's probably a good thing as having that many quarterbacks on scholarship is a bit of a waste. If they can get some development, ANY development, and the entire starting offensive line returns, there's no reason a 3,000 yard season isn't possible from whomever wins the job next season.

Reason For Concern in 2015
Everyone is back. On paper, every single quarterback on the roster has eligibility and can return. With how poorly some (or all) of these guys played this season at times, and the fact that no one was able to overtake either Wilson or Thompson despite their flaws and up and down play, there might not be quarterback on the roster that can win the Utes games when they have to. Sure, Hansen and Isom have potential, but neither has taken a snap in college. Combine that with the fact that we're yet to see a quarterback at Utah develop at all since Brian Johnson was here in 2008, and you have to wonder whether the issue is actually with the players, or if it's with the coaches that have brought them in and failed to get much more. Is anyone on this team any good? It's shocking that there are this many quarterbacks and we still don't know the answer.

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