So maybe that was just a headline to grab your attention. But it’s also at least 60% true.
First of all. Rankings mean nothing this early in the season. Utah’s 24 is just a number for fans to gauge their team with, and UCLA’s 8 only meant that a lot of people thought they would be really good. The upsets are fun to talk about and even more fun to watch, but standing on their own, even upset wins like this one don’t mean all that much. I say that because a win over UCLA doesn’t magically grant you victories over Oregon State, USC, Stanford etc…
The win DOES have value because we learned a lot about the team, especially on offense. You know I love lists, so here is a list of the most important things that came out of Utah vs UCLA.
1. Devontae Booker is LEGIT. He ran hard in every situation. He ran effectively in every situation. He ran over, around, and through some of the best tacklers in the entire conference.
2. The O-Line is better at run-blocking than pass-pro
3. Kendall Thompson ain’t half bad. He still needs to prove that he can throw the ball downfield consistently, but he makes place with his feet that Travis Wilson cannot make. Not sure what that means long term, but that’s the way the QB question shakes out right now.
4. Utah’s wideouts have a dropping problem. Bart Simpson Butterfinger commercials all over the place. We all hoped that it was a freak accident that would only happen against Washington State, but it is more than that. Needs to fixed, and there isn’t an easy way to fix it.
5. Lowell Lotulelei is going to be a star. Pun-intended. Maybe not THE Star that his brother was (BOOM second pun!) but he started vs UCLA and blew up their inside zone-read game. Can’t be pushed out of the hole. He is a true freshman… Can’t wait to watch.
6. Dave Christenson is better on the fly than he is at scripting things out. Vs Wazzu you saw him stick to the ineffective pass plan come hell or high water. Presumably Travis’ struggle and the Kendall replacement forced him to think on the fly, slow things down, and run more. It worked, the play calling was excellent, and the urgency was there. It also helped the defense tremendously.
7. Utah’s base (4-man) rush is elite. Orchard is a monster who’ll be playing on Sundays as an OLB. His versatility is awesome. Hunter Dimick is a bull-rush master, and the combination if the combination of those two can keep even a mobile guy like Brett Hundley in check the prognosis is good.
Still…. You have to play great EVERY week in this conference. The Utes beat UCLA two days ago. If they are still celebrating today they are in real trouble.