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"I like our young guys but we do need more speed," co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson said. "We need more speed at receiver, running back, those are the big areas for us."
While the offense wasn’t as productive as the Utes needed it to be, Whittingham believes the overall philosophy is strong. Now it’s a matter of executing everything properly, from the recruiting to the plays on the field.
Utah football season synopsis
Utah seemed to have all the momentum it needed after it beat Stanford, but coach Kyle Whittingham said it all fizzled when quarterback Travis Wilson, above, suffered several minor injuries to his throwing hand that affected his play and dropped the Utes into a five-game losing streak.
Key players lost
Defensive leaders Tenny Palepoi, above sacking Cal QB Zach Maynard last year, Trevor Reilly and cornerback Keith McGill are among those the Utes must replace while the offense loses two key linemen in Jeremiah Tofaeono and Vyncent Jones. Jones, a center, was one of the team’s most underrated players.
Key players returning
The Utes return their linebackers as well as receiver Dres Anderson, above. Tight end Jake Murphy has left the door open to go pro, but said for now he plans to return. Defensive end Nate Orchard will anchor the line, which should be solid again. Running back Harvey Langi, who played in 2011 before going on a mission, is scheduled to rejoin the team in June.
Utah hopes Los Angeles Southwest College safety Tevin Carter, who didn’t qualify academically this year, will be able to join the team for 2014. Kaelin Clay, a receiver at Mt. San Antonio C.C., also should compete for playing time immediately.
Key offseason priority
The Utes will have a busy offseason recruiting the skill positions and possibly tweaking the offense to fit a new quarterback if Travis Wilson can’t return.
This season, like last, was too short for Whittingham.
"We made a big jump to the Pac-12," he said. "It is a very competitive league and more competitive this year than the past, but we wouldn’t want it any other way."
Well, except for the ending. The Utes would like it much different.
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