July 28, 2007

Five questions for fall camp

It's been 216 days since the Utes last took the field against Tulsa in the Fort Worth Bowl, and Utah fans are starting to feel the itch. However, the football drought is about to end as the Utes begin final preparations for the 2007 season. As the Utes enter the home stretch before fall camp, here are the five main questions that Kyle Whittingham and his staff will look to answer before Utah takes the field against Oregon State.

Will Matt Asiata live up to the hype?

There's little doubt that the Utah offense should have plenty of firepower this season. Utah returns a solid quarterback in Brian Johnson, a strong offensive line and an experienced and deep receiving corps. With so many key contributors returning, expectations for the Utah offense are high. Running back is the lone question mark on offense, and the backfield could make the difference between success and failure.

Utah will look to highly touted JUCO transfer Matt Asiata to provide badly needed consistency to the backfield. If Asiata can pick up the playbook early and make an immediate impact, it could be the beginning of a special season for the Utah offense. Utah could struggle early if they can't find a go-to player at running back.

Can Brian Johnson take his game to the next level?

Utah fans are optimistic about the prospects of Johnson leading the offense this season, and rightly so. He is a talented playmaker that can make plays with his arm and his feet. Despite making several youthful mistakes, Johnson clearly proved that he can move the offense in 2005. However, Johnson hasn't taken a snap since November 2005, and until he plays in a real game, any hope of success is merely speculation. Fall camp should be a solid indicator of how Johnson will fare in real action this season.

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