Adams: Quarterback indecision could come back to bite the Utes


Courtesy by Oregon State Athletics

Courtesy by Oregon State Athletics
Courtesy by Justin Quinn, The Daily Barometer

When the Utes took the field Thursday evening, it was Kendal Thompson who was lining up under center, running with the first-team offense. Halfway through the game, it was the familiar face of Travis Wilson that we saw go out onto the field with Utah, and he remained in the game the rest of the way.
With both quarterbacks playing about the same amount of time and neither really impressing, the Utes are six games into the season, but still stuck at square one at the quarterback position.
This team has gone a complete 360 degrees as far as this quarterback battle is concerned and it may ultimately bring this season down for Utah.
The Utes are off to a 5-1 start, and if it wasn’t for Connor Halliday and a late-game collapse they’d be undefeated. This is the best start Utah has had since 2010 and all while Kyle Whittingham and staff are still trying to figure out the most important position on the field.
Oh, how good this squad could be if it had a constant, consistent face at the helm of the offense. I mean, if the Utes had picked a starter at the beginning of the season and stuck with him, that quarterback and the offense would be, at this point, familiar with one another, making for a more fluid offense.
That being said, without some of the adjustments made at quarterback, such as the switch at UCLA, this season may have played out differently up until this point.
But let’s take a look at how this game of quarterback hot potato has negatively affected this Utah offense.
First off, the Utes have had to rely on the run game for much of the season. Now, this isn’t all a bad thing as Devontae Booker has proven, yet again, that he can pretty much have his way. He has shown he has elite capabilities and some could argue he is the best back in the Pac-12.
However, he is only one man and it probably isn’t the smartest idea to rely solely on one person for an offense. Maybe Booker is strong enough to handle such a load, but I’m not willing to bet on it.
Secondly, the receiving corp has not been playing well. What does this have to do with the quarterback fiasco? Maybe nothing, but receivers have already been on the record saying the spin of the football differs between the quarterbacks. Is this why some of the most trusted receivers on the team have been dropping passes? Maybe, maybe not, but I imagine the constant changing of players behind center isn’t helping all that much.
Finally, while some will say this quarterback competition is healthy and brings the best out of the athletes, I’m not so sure it does. I can imagine Wilson and Thompson both over-analyzing just about every play they make. Sure, the natural flow of the game is still there, but both of these guys are competitive. They want to be out there on the field and they want to lead this team to victory.
On the other side of that, they know that one bad play can ruin their chances moving forward, potentially causing tentativeness. I think it’s important for any quarterback, but especially Wilson and Thompson, to have confidence because without it neither of these guys are anything special.
I understand that both guys aren’t great quarterbacks. Both are very average and, therefore, it’s no surprise that neither guy has separated himself from the other. But this game of cat and mouse at the most important position on the field will eventually grow tiresome.
With teams like Stanford, Oregon and Arizona still left on the schedule, Utah needs to fix this situation before another team fixes it for them.
[email protected]