Bradlee Anae is the most important defensive player for the Utes in 2018. The 6’3 260lb true junior will be the leader among the defensive line in sacks and pressure. Utah’s pass rush will rely heavily on the ability of Bradlee Anae to win one-on-one match ups with PAC12 offensive tackles.
When Utah has been at their best defensively, they’ve been able to generate pressure without having to dial up excessive pressure in the form of blitzing players. Sending linebackers or safeties on blitzes vacates zones that the offense can take advantage of. Offensive football is all about finding the open areas of the field and exploiting them. If a defense can get pressure with just their front four defensive linemen, seven defenders become available for coverage (if my math is correct).
Anae has all the qualities that Hunter Dimick, Nate Orchard and Trevor Reilly had before they were household names. Coming off a year where Anae had 39 tackles, 10 TFLs and 7 sacks all while fighting through numerous injuries, he looks poised to step up even more to become an all-PAC12 calibur player.
Utah’s 2018 schedule will include a number of outstanding offensive tackles for Bradlee Anae to test his skills against.
Washington- Trey Adams senior left tackle 6’8 320lbs. He’s the best left tackle in the country
Washington state- Andre Dillard senior left tackle 6’5 310lbs is the best returning offensive linemen for the cougars
Stanford- Walker Little sophomore left tackle 6’7 310lbs was the PAC12’s freshman offensive player of the year in 2017
Arizona- Both offensive tackles are gone from a year ago. There is major concern when it comes to the offensive line in Tucson but senior Cody Creason 6’4 295lbs is expected to contribute at tackle
USC- Chuma Edoga senior 6’4 300lbs and Toa Lobedan senior 6’3 300lbs are the best offensive tackle duo in the PAC12. Both guys chose to stay at USC instead of leaving early for the NFL
UCLA- The Bruins lost both tackles from 2017 and have major question marks along their offensive line. Sophomores Michael Alves 6’5 315lbs and Jacob Burton 6’5 280lbs are expected to battle for the starting left tackle position
Arizona State- Cohl Cabral junior 6’5 290lbs is expected to continue his development after playing well his first two years in Tempe
Oregon- A trio of juniors are expected to compete for the left tackle spot for the ducks after the departure of Tyrell Crosby. Calvin Throckmorton 6’6 310lbs, Brady Aiello 6’7 300lbs and former Ute prospect George Moore 6’7 310lbs are all going to be given reps throughout spring and the fall to determine who starts.
Side note: Throckmorton is the most offensive linemen name ever.
Colorado- Josh Kaiser senior 6’5 300lbs and Isaac Miller 6’7 280lbs junior will battle it out for the starting job at left tackle
BYU- Thomas Shoaf junior left tackle 6’5 275lbs* is a good player but needs to add 20 pounds to his frame