U football: The great unknown

Spring is finally here and with it comes the annual spring practices of each college’s football teams. This time of the year is often highly anticipated, especially by fans of a program in a “rebuilding” stage. Just ask the 60,000 fans who showed up for the first day of Florida’s spring practice.

But things seem a bit different around here. Yeah, our football team fits the bill of a rebuilding team, but after the success of last season, U fans are looking at next season as an accident waiting to happen.

We lost our star quarterback and we lost our star coach. With the departure of several key players, such as Paris Warren and Steve Savoy, we lost our identity. Let’s face it-we were an offensive football team with a crazy spread-option attack that nobody ever figured out-and that’s what we came to expect with our team.

Now, as U fans, we have to adjust to a brand new offensive system, and many critics are still wondering what the offensive gameplan will consist of. The new offensive coordinator for the Utes, Andy Ludwig, has described the new system as one that will get the ball in the hands of running back Quinton Ganther, but he has emphasized that the Utes will maintain their “big-play dimension.”

That sounds a lot like the ho-hum offensive gameplan of the Air Force Falcons. They put the ball in the hands of their running backs, but they are always looking for that big play. Of course, hoping for a rushing attack with the complexity of the Air Force option is probably more than U fans can hope for.

More importantly, we want offense. We still have some pretty good receivers, and if Thomas Huff comes anywhere near reaching his potential, he could be one of the top receivers in all of college football. But no matter how good the receivers are, someone is going to have to get them the ball.

So, without further ado, I introduce to you Brian Johnson-the man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Johnson, the only unknown bigger than what offensive gameplan the Utes will have next year, is the only person carrying a bigger burden than Ludwig. How he plays will likely play a more significant role in the Utes’ success than anything a coach can do.

Johnson is very young and looked terrible in the few outings he had last year. On the other hand, head coach Kyle Whittingham said Johnson has been having a standout spring and that he is playing as well as anyone on the team. We hope Johnson and Ludwig figure things out. Maybe Whittingham can help too. I’m rooting for these guys to put the naysayers to rest, but I wouldn’t trade places with any of them for the world.

Good luck guys, we know you’re going to need it.

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