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The Utah Utes' rout of the BYU Cougars on Saturday revealed more than just which team is better. Now, as Utah heads into its bye week, the Utes have a much better idea of where they are as a team and what kind of potential they have.
For sure, their most difficult tests are ahead of them, but at least the Utes have established themselves as a team with a defense that has a knack of creating plays and an offense that is slowly finding its rhythm.
Since the Utes are on a break this week, it's a perfect time to analyze just where they are as a program. The breakdown:
What we know • Quarterback Jordan Wynn was polite but firm following his 239-yard passing performance Saturday. He is no longer answering questions about his shoulder.
As far as he is concerned, Saturday's game proved what he has been saying all along, his throwing motion might be different, but he remains an effective quarterback.
Wynn's downfield throws are still erratic, but he did a better job staying in the pocket Saturday and orchestrating the new offense.
Now he has confidence in his shoulder and the confidence of a big win, and things are certainly looking up for the junior.
Just as important for Wynn is the development of playmakers. DeVonte Christopher showed he has come a long way in his role of receiver as he took some big hits at BYU but stayed in the game.
Freshman Dres Anderson looks like a star in the making, Reggie Dunn is going to be a nice utility player and offensive coordinator Norm Chow showed he wasn't kidding when he said he was going to use tight ends this year. Freshman Jake Murphy and junior Dallin Rogers both have had nice games and fit Chow's system well.
What we don't know • The biggest questions on the offensive side of the ball are the line and the running game. The Utes' line played very well against BYU, despite losing its best player, Tony Bergstrom, to a knee injury early. His backup, Percy Taumoelau, did a nice job but depth continues to be an issue, particularly if Bergstrom's injury is long-term.
John White rushed for 174 yards against the Cougars, but had just nine yards on nine carries in the first half. The Utes say they need the run game to get the offense going, but after Saturday's showing, it might be the other way around this year. It wasn't until the passing game softened up the Cougars, both physically and mentally, that White had success.
What we know • The biggest development out of the Utah-BYU game was the play of the defensive ends. Senior Derrick Shelby looked like the player he was before his knee surgery that slowed him last year. Sophomore Trevor Reilly, who has played at linebacker and defensive end, was more effective at the end spot.
Reilly forced three fumbles Saturday.
The linebackers are solid as expected while the players in the secondary have had their moments. They've played two good quarterbacks in USC's Matt Barkley and BYU's Jake Heaps. They've gotten burned a couple times but are improving.
Utah's run defense is as tough as ever, highlighted by Saturday's showing when the Cougars managed only 11 yards. Utah opponents have just 238 rushing yards through the three games.
What we don't know • Free safety is a position to watch, with junior Keith McGill and freshman Eric Rowe playing. Neither has asserted himself as the guy for that role.
What we know • Utah's kicking game struggled in the preseason and it continues to be a weakness. Coleman Petersen missed a 29-yard field-goal attempt and a PAT against the Cougars.
The return game seems sufficient, although it lacks the dazzle Shaky Smithson brought to the role.
What we don't know • Utah coach Kyle Whittingham isn't one known to have much patience with kickers. Don't be surprised if Nick Marsh gets another chance at the role.
What we know • Chow's new offense looks like it fits the Utes as well as they had hoped, particularly since Chow has found a way to make the tight ends more active in the passing game.
Defensively, it's hard to argue with anything coordinator Kalani Sitake has done. Most impressive is the way the Utes are creating turnovers and coming up with the big plays when they need them most. The move of Brian Blechen from safety to linebacker looks like a winner, as does the use of Reilly at defensive end.
What we don't know • The Utes say they need supplemental yardage out of the run game, finding those players remains a high priority.
Washington at Utah
P Oct. 1, 5 p.m.
TV • FSN