Position by position, better or worse than last year:
QB: Hot take right off the bat: Better than last year. We have a better OL, better WR’s, better TE’s, and RB group can get it done. Bentley is a better thrower than Huntley and if Rising beats him out, you have to assume Rising is better than Bentley. Huntley threw for 220 yards per game last year. I think we sit around 235-240.
RB: Worse. Kind of have to be, losing Moss. BUT, worse does not mean bad. Utah has averaged between 160-220 yards per game rushing in the PAC-12. We will be around 180, which is top 6 in the PAC-12. We will not abandon the run and while we will be worse, we will still be really good. Jordan will be a star, the next RB to be the best ever.
WR/TE: Better. Everyone comes back plus some Covey action.
OL: Better. Everyone comes back plus we have legit P5 depth at every position. We will be better. No more cobbling together an OL. We have one, with people where they should be. All the Harding detractors will be proven wrong this year as this group takes a step forward.
DL: Worse. Like the RB group, worse does not mean bad. We have a couple sure fire NFL guys in Moala and Tafua. We have guys who are above average P12 guys in the Pututau’s and Tupai. We have potential in Kaufusi, Van Fillinger, Carlton, Kuithe. While this won’t be last year’s DL, it won’t be a bad one either and probably ends up top 3 in the P12.
LB: Worse. Again, like the RB’s and DL, worse does not mean bad. Sewell has three year’s starting experience. Lloyd is a budding star. Mata’afa and Mercier will play and be effective. There is buzz around Fotu. There is legit talent there. We will be far from bad.
Secondary: I lump them together becuase they are unknown. There is a TON of talent there. More talent than we have ever had. BUT, there is like, 10 snaps there. If Hubert can’t play, that is a big blow. We have 9 CB’s. They are all true sophomores or younger. Our safeties look a lot like the CB’s. This is our only question mark. If teams are going to beat us, it will be through the air.
This is not a bad team. This is not a team with question marks all over it. This is not an inexperienced team.
IF we had our original schedule, we win 8-10 games with this team. As it stands right now, we most likely win 4-5 games. If we beat USC our floor is really high. If we lose to USC and can’t play ASU, we lose one game.
I think we have had our judgements clouded on this team because last year was so good and we lost so many players. But this team has not plateaued yet. Not anywhere near plateauing. We are still getting better and we are becoming more and more talented every single year.