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Previewing the Utah offense

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Yet another potent rushing attack

NCAA Football: Utah at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah offense is always a tough one to gauge. Sometimes it seems like they’re holding the team back, both other times it seems like they have the capability to be an elite offense. They started off slow this year, but after the first few games they’ve picked up some steam.

The leader:

Two different guys lead the way for the Utes offense as they have co-offensive coordinators. First up is co-coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick, who at one point spent the 2010 season as a co-coordinator before losing that position. His counterpart is Jim Harding who also serves as the Utah offensive line coach. He had previously spent time at Wyoming where he was the coordinator there. The Utes have a nice mix of run and pass out of the shotgun and have an offense that reminds me of the one Oregon saw earlier this season against Colorado.

Stats:

Certainly not an offensive juggernaut but the Utes are putting up a very solid 31.2 points per game on offense. They do so with a very heavy dosage of the running game, oh boy. So far this year the Utes are putting up 213 rushing yards per game. Through the air has been efficient as well as they average 221 yards per game.

I’m surprised at how poorly a Kyle Whittingham coached team is performing on third downs. So far the Utes convert on just 39% of third downs while then converting 61% of fourth down tries. In the redzone, the Utes have been plagued by not getting the ball across the end zone. In 43 attempts, Utah has scored just 23 touchdowns while settling for ten made field goals. Through the air they’ve turned it over just five times but on the ground they’ve fumbled 23 times, giving up 11.

Last year the passing game had their way against the Ducks as Travis Wilson threw for five touchdowns and no interceptions. The running game was efficient as well as the Utes ran for 273 yards. Something to note is that the Utah quarterback was actually the leading rusher in the game with 100 yards on six carries.

Three players to watch:

Joe Williams, #28, senior running back, 5' 11", 205 lbs.

How often is it that a player who once retired is perhaps the team’s best player on offense. Williams once retired for the Utes but was talked back into the game from head coach Kyle Whittingham. What a great decision that was as he leads the team in yards (962), rushing touchdowns (8) and yards per game (157) in just six games.

Troy Williams, #3, junior quarterback, 6' 2", 200 lbs.

The former Husky transfer has been very efficient for the Utes in taking over for Travis Wilson. So far this season he has 13 touchdowns compared to 5 interceptions. He does have a low completion percentage at 54% and if the Ducks have any chance of winning this game they need to get after Williams when he drops back to throw.

Tim Patrick #12, senior wide receiver, 6’ 5”, 210 lbs.

Patrick leads the Utes in both yards (548) and touchdowns (5). His big frame at 6’ 5” will cause the Ducks major problems.