This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
First, I want to draw attention to my colleague Matt Piper's feature in today's paper on Dres Anderson and how the senior receiver is becoming a more well-rounded NFL prospect.
Second, let's take a look at why Anderson is an NFL prospect in the first place.
His touchdown against Michigan was a picture-perfect play where just about everything went right to put Anderson in position to use his best asset - his speed - to roll for a 28-yard touchdown. We're introducing a new feature this week in which we break down a big play from the previous week's game.
This week, we're going with a play that Anderson referred to as Utah's "bread and butter." Let's go to the tape.
The Utes come out in a three-receiver formation with Westlee Tonga slightly set out from the rest of the line. Anderson alone on the far side, with a corner in front of him and a safety over top.
At the snap, Anderson begins a shallow crossing route to his left, only two yards in front of the line of scrimmage. Michigan's defense does the worst possible thing here: The cornerback blitzes, leaving the outside linebacker and deep safety to cover Anderson.
In Anderson's own words: "The corner tried to pass me off to the linebacker, but he didn't do that successfully."
The linebacker is frozen, perhaps not realizing his assignment, or perhaps staying in zone. The safety comes down, but is tripped up by running through his own linebackers and Tonga crossing himself a little deeper. Tonga's route, according to Anderson, is critical to him getting free.
"Westlee is more of a distraction for a linebacker," he said. "It creates some indecision for him, so he doesn't know which one to go with."
Wilson spots an easy throw to an open Anderson, and he catches it, no problem. Then he looks up and sees nothing but open field.
How did that space get there? The linebackers haven't been pursuing him, the safety is still too far to the other side, and the corners on the near sideline are in the end zone, drawn out into the sticks by the two receivers running double post routes deep.
Only one thing left to do.
"Then when I caught the ball, the receivers were already downfield, and once I seen the defenders' backs toward me, I knew just run as fast as you can," he said.
From there, it's a simple foot race with a safety for Anderson to outrun. With his 4.4 speed, not an issue. That's why NFL scouts are taking serious looks at him. He scoots 26 yards after the catch for a touchdown.
This play may not have happened last year, Anderson said. Defenses had to key in on him last season, but with Kenneth Scott, Kaelin Clay and Tonga taking off the heat, it's been a lot easier for him to slip under the radar.
"Last year I really had a guy pressed on me with a safety on top and maybe another safety rolling over," he said. "It was hard to get open. I basically had to do deep stuff and outrun guys. This year I'm getting man coverage, one-on-one stuff. It's been very beneficial."
Added Anderson: "I feel a lot more freer going downfield. Just turn on the burners."
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon