Team grades

Secondary: B

The defensive backfield for the Utes is as talented as it is young. Both Brice McCain and Sean Smith have tremendous speed and are shutdown cornerbacks. Smith’s frame at corner (6-3, 217 lbs.) will allow him to match up with almost any receiver in the league. Steve Tate is an amazing open field tackler with a great nose for the ball. This corps of players has the ability to do all that is required of it if it continues to grow and mesh throughout the season.

Speed-88, Awareness-81, Tackling-79

Special teams: A-

Louie Sakoda’s handling of his dual-kicking responsibilities has been nothing short of superb. Just ask head coach Kyle Whittingham. He is an accurate place kicker and has shown the ability to pin teams deep in their territory on punts. Ben Vroman has a good leg on kickoffs and Utah has one of the best coverage teams in the MWC coming back at full strength.

Kicking power-88, Kicking accuracy-89, Coverage-91

Coaching staff: B-

Kyle Whittingham has put together two mildly successful seasons and is looking to break out in his third year against one of the toughest schedules Utah has ever faced. He has grown over the past two seasons in the way he handles his players and the media. Gary Anderson has carried on Whittingham’s success as defensive coordinator, but the coordinator on the other side of the ball has not fared as well in many U fans’ eyes. If Utah’s offense continues to sputter, Whittingham might be forced to part ways with Andy Ludwig next season.

Head coach 85, Defensive coordinator 86, Offensive coordinator 74