Utes in search of a third receiver
Time to take a look at Utah's receivers. Dres Anderson is a proven speedster and Kenneth Scott at 6-foot-3 is a big physical presence for the Utes and the third receiver....well, who is he?
Finding that missing guy is Utah's most pressing issue when camp begins on Monday.
Right now 6-4 senior Anthony Denham is slotted to start, but he has yet to assert himself and has been plagued by injuries. He might have a slight edge based on his experience with the Utes. Freshmen Brian Allen and Delshawn McClellon and senior Sean Fitzgerald, another player whose career unfortunately has had more injuries than highlights, will also get a chance to earn the role.
Another candidate, Quinton Pedroza, was dismissed from the team in June for violating team rules.
The Utes also have high hopes that Andre Lewis, a 6-3, 210-pound junior college transfer, can learn the offense quickly and be a factor.
Lewis, out of Diablo Valley College, has been with the Utes all summer and has been impressive in workouts from a fitness standpoint, but the big question is can he catch the ball going against a Pac-12 defense and hang onto that ball?
Dropped passes plagued the Utes last year and were a current theme in the spring as well too. The issue was clearly weighing on coach Kyle Whittingham at Pac-12 media day.
"It was a disappointing year for the receivers last year," Whittingham said of a group that averaged just 190.7 yards a game. "They'll be the first to admit that and I know they are going to come into camp ready to change it."
Certainly part of the problem was the change at quarterback and other offensive adjustments that made it difficult for the receivers and quarterback Travis Wilson to find a rhythm.
Hopefully a summer's worth of work together and a slimmed down and simplified playbook will help the offense be more efficient.
While the receivers are a concern for the Utes, the tight ends are not. Utah has two proven guys in junior Jake Murphy (6-4, 252) and senior Westlee Tonga (6-4, 252). Both have worked hard in the summer to slim down and get faster as they prepare to be used extensively with the tweaks Dennis Erickson has made to Utah's offense.
Murphy was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection last year as he was second on the team with 33 catches and third with 349 receiving yards while Tonga had four catches for 39 yards.
My hunch is Tonga is going to be in for a big year so keep an eye on him.
- Lya Wodraska
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