Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the semi-open quarterback battle for the Utes in spring

Utah heads into spring with two options and the wildest wildcard of all wildcards at QB

Incumbent: Troy Williams (Sr)

Is he good? Is he average? Is he just another Utah quarterback? Troy Williams arrived last year with plenty of fanfare. Maybe he was overhyped by the media and/or coaches, but we saw a significant gap between Williams and the rest of the quarterbacks on the roster in the spring and fall last year. The expectations heading into the season were enormous, but the overall performance didn't come close to what was expected by most. Williams had his moments, particularly the USC game where he led a monster comeback in the 4th quarter. The Arizona State game was one of the best games, if not the best game, we've seen out of Utah quarterback since they joined the Pac 12. It was the follow up performances though that brought everyone back down to earth after the teases we'd see sprinkled in throughout the season. Williams was hurt last year though. He knee was never close to 100% throughout Pac 12 play, and that definitely hampered his performance. If he's healthy, you've got to give him the edge heading into spring in a new offense because of the experience, but Williams didn't do enough last season to make anyone think that he's the answer that will get Utah the coveted Pac 12 South title. He'll have a new QB coach that played the position and a new offense, meaning somewhat of a fresh start. Will he take advantage? We'll see.

Challenger: Tyler Huntley (So)

There was excitement built significantly around Tyler Huntley following his performance in Utah's bowl win over Indiana, but remember; he only threw one pass, and while it was completed, it was severely under-thrown.  Huntley did his damage in that game with his legs, and it wasn't as much damage as you'd think given the public reaction to his play. I don't want people getting too hyped up over a game that really didn't show anything. The coaches liked him enough last year to elevate the true freshman over Brandon Cox on the depth chart and gave him some snaps.  He's an exciting prospect for Utah, and if he's not the guy now, Tyler Huntley is definitely the future for Utah football at quarterback. That may be this season though, and he'll have the opportunity to showcase it in the spring.

Darkhorse: Cooper Bateman (Sr)

Bateman was once the golden child of Utah high school football recruits. With offers from all over the country, the 5th ranked quarterback in the 2013 class could have gone anywhere, ending up at the juggernaut that is Alabama. Despite the high expectations, Bateman never made much of an impact, starting only one game in his time in Tuscaloosa, and even giving the wide receiver spot a try. Now he's a graduate transfer walk-on at Utah who will get a shot to live up to the promise he one showed. Bateman has all the talent in the world, but if you can't execute, it really doesn't matter how talented other view you. This is his last shot at glory, and while a great option to have as a walk-on, there are still a ton of questions as to whether or not he can put it all together.

Position Outlook:

Is Utah in its best position at quarterback in years? From a talent perspective, absolutely. From a playable depth perspective, absolutely. For years we've said, 'well, the QB play can't be any worse than it was last season.' Yet, the production had been about the same for all six seasons in the conference from Utah's signal callers. Will this year be any different? With the Utes ushering in a new offensive era under Troy Taylor, there's a lot of optimism. Let's slow our roll on that though as this will take some time to stick, especially for the quarterbacks. I repeat: THIS WILL TAKE TIME! The options are solid and the play calling should be better. Can the quarterbacks execute? That's the biggest question.


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