Grading out the position groups after the win over Fresno State

Grading out the position groups after the win over Fresno State

Quarterback: B+

Travis Wilson got off to another solid start, running the offense well with decisive throws. His early touchdown run and the second half scamper that resulted in an injury were a thing of beauty. It was highly unfortunate that he went down with a shoulder sprain after starting out 9 of 12 through the air for 76 yards with another 49 on the ground, but the back to back very good performances should have Ute fans very excited for when he does return.  Kendal Thompson was serviceable during his time in place of Wilson, showing off his running ability and going 8 for 10 through the air for 56 yards.

Running Back: B

Devontae Booker went over 100 yards for the first time this season, doing much of the work on his own after the offensive line struggled. We're still waiting for him to break one as he needed 31 carries to get to 120 yards, but he was able to really wear down the Aggies in the second half. Joe Williams only had one touch again, and probably needs more to help keep defenses on their toes with his speed.

Wide Receiver and Tight End: B-

It was the Britain Covey show again as the true frosh went for 61 yards on 6 catches. Outside of Booker, the local product appears to be Utah's best offensive weapon. Kenneth Scott drew a couple of pass interference calls and the Utes should continue to use him deep when he's got single coverage. He also had two nice grabs during the game. Tyrone Smith and Siale Fakailoatonga also had two receptions apiece. The lack of a deep ball so far is discouraging, but the Utes continue to play it safe and stay away from turning it over through the air.

Offensive Line: D

No sacks out of Utah State doesn't tell the story, as Utah's offensive line, again, had a lack-luster performance. The pass blocking was decent, but was often saved by pickups from Booker, the quarterbacks showing the ability to escape and make plays with their legs. Sam Tevi is still struggling a ton and a change there may need to be made. The run blocking was a huge disappointment, with Tevi and Hiva Lutui the culprits in often getting driven back by their defender. The overall push from the line was below average and it forced Booker to have to pick up a lot of yards on his own. Two weeks in and two performances that have underwhelmed.

Defensive Line: C-

Things started off well with a solid first quarter, but they struggled for much of the second and third before ramping things up in quarter number four. The lack of sacks and overall pressure is still a concern, but a worn down USU offensive line let the Utes tee off quite a bit in the final frame when the Aggies were throwing the ball on almost every day. Kyle Fitts struggled in the first half, often losing contain and overpursuing, but had a nice bounceback second half where he as dominant. Jason Fanaika was solid throughout the game, and Pita Taumoepenu was an animal off the edge in the final frame. The interior of the line wasn't at its best as Lowell Lotulelei didn't perform well and Filipo Mokofisi wasn't effective. We'll see how the loss of Hunter Dimick affects the team and if John Pease will need to get more creative to draw up some pressure. As a whole though, against a Utah State team that was missing its best offenive lineman, the performance was a bit disappointing.

Linebackers: B

Gionni Paul was a man amongst boys again, forcing a fumble and picking off a pass to go along with a tackle for loss. He was second on the team in tackles with 9 and helped slow down the USU run game. Jared Norris led the team in tackles with 10, but upon re-watching the game, he had a few mistakes that allowed Chuckie Keeton to pick up yardage with his legs. Jason Whittingham, for the second game in a row, really struggled. He looks very passive out there and was often out of position with over-pursuit or not knowing where the ball was. The Utes need him to improve in a hurry.

Cornerbacks: C+

Reggie Porter had a good game and didn't give up much, but it was an up and down affair for Cory Butler-Bird that was saved by the presence of Dominique Hatfield when he entered. Expect Hatfield to retake his starting spot this week. The Utah corners didn't give up a ton through the air this week, but there were too many missed tackles on the outside, and they'll need to clean that up. Too many times a play would break down for USU and Keeton would be able to find a receiver. Justin Thomas had another good game and is arguably Utah's most reliable member of the secondary at the moment.

Safeties: C

Marcus Williams had an interception, but also struggled in letting guys get behind him a few times. Tevin Carter had 5 tackles and helped out at the line of scrimmage, but also lost his assignments a few times when plays broke down.

Special Teams: C-

Andy Phillips hit his only field goal, Britain Covey had a nifty punt return, and the Utes covered their kicks well, but this doesn't look like the same elite unit as last season. Two kickoffs out of bounds by Phillips won't fly against Pac 12 opponents, and Tom Hackett, while still solid, has not bee spectacular. Maybe our expectations were a bit too high?


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