February 14, 2007

Is it spring yet?

There's no question that the time in-between signing day and spring camp is painful for most college football fans. But Ute fans can rest easy knowing that spring camp is only less than a month away with a start date of March 13th. Lots of questions remain for the 2007 Utes, and heading into spring camp we have compiled what we feel are the top four headlines.

Me and Mr. Johnson

As was the case heading into spring camp in 2006, the Utes are heading into this spring with the quarterback position taking all the headlines. This spring however, the picture is significantly less murky than it was a year ago.

With Brett Ratliff embarking on a possible future in the NFL or someplace else, the Utes are losing a QB that guided them to an 8-5 season including a bowl win. With the loss of Ratliff however, the Utes, by all accounts are poised to get an upgrade at that position with the return of junior to be Brian Johnson. Johnson was a top 5 in the nation QB in 2005 when as a true sophomore, he kept the wheels of the football program moving for much of the regular season until being knocked out with a season-ending knee injury in the 2nd to last game.

In fall camp 2006, only 8 months removed from invasive knee surgery, Johnson managed to give plenty of reasons why he deserved to be the starting QB despite good showings by Tommy Grady and Brett Ratliff. Gambling with the future of promising QB like Johnson was not even a question for the Ute coaching staff however, and as was expected, a redshirt year was declared. A couple questions at this point need to be asked: 1: If Brian Johnson is fully recovered medically from his knee injury, is he mentally ready to place 100% trust on his knee? 2. With an extra year sitting on the sidelines and observing the game, will Johnson have grown enough to not commit the same mental mistakes he made in 05? One thing is for certain, Johnson will be the clear frontrunner in spring ball.

Note: Also competing in spring camp will be JC transfer Chad Manis, a sophomore. Corbin Louks will join the team in time for summer conditioning and Kevin Dunn has transferred out of the program.

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