Returning Starters – Offense: 7 Defense: 7
Preview: Utah showed promise last season going a very respectable 9-4 overall with a dominating 45-10 bowl win coming against Colorado State. The Utes are starting to look comfortable in the Pac 12 and this program has proven they belong in their relatively new conference. Head coach Kyle Wittingham has done a tremendous job over the past decade leading the team to an 85-43 record over his 10 years as head man. With 14 returning starters this team is expected to be a factor in the Pac 12.
The offense had adequate production a season ago, but the team will work under a new OC in 2015. There were serious concerns about the health of QB Travis Wilson going into 2014, but he was cleared to play after suffering yet another concussion. Wilson was up and down through the 2014 cmapign, but he cut down on his turnovers and earned his starting job back after Kendal Thompson went down with a knee injury. Wilson will work behind a veteran O-line that returns 4 starters. The ground game got a surprising boost from Devontae Booker and he’ll be back ready to build off of a successful campaign. The receiving corps will be look for some new blood with only 1 returning starter back in the mix.
Utah’s defense produced at a high level in 2014 outside of lopsided performances against Oregon and Arizona. The Utes pride themselves on defensive toughness as this unit should be solid again with 7 returning starters back. The Utes need to replace Nate Orchard who was a sack machine last season and the team hopes to do that with Dimick on the line. Utah had to fill some holes at LB last season due to injuries, but this unit should be steady in 2015 with 3 returning starters back to prove themselves. The secondary was hurt by the dismissal of Hatfield and the unit is expected to get a boost out of converted QB Jason Thompson.
Prediction: The Utah program has made noticeable strides over the past half decade in the Pac 12 and this team is much deeper and able to compete as a result. The Utes picked up their first winning record in conference play in 2014 and the team will look to replicate and build off of last season’s success. With veteran QB Travis Wilson leading the way Utah will remain a tough beat in conference play, but there are a lot of quality teams that the Utes will be competing with in their division making a climb in the standings a tough goal. Having similar success to what they had in 2014 would be a great sign for this program.
Projected Record: 7-5 (4-5)