Five burning questions: Utah

How will Utah adjust to its new conference?

Like Colorado, Utah joined the Pac-10 on July 1, 2011, to form the Pac-12 . The Utes, formerly from the Mountain West conference, will take part in the first ever Pac-12 football game when they visit Los Angeles on Saturday. It remains to be seen, though, how well Utah will adjust to playing in a BCS conference. History suggests the transition won’t be too difficult. Dating back to 2003, the Utes boast an impressive 80-22 record, including a 7-3 mark against Pac-10 teams. 

Will Lane Kiffin throw down the field?

In the opener against Minnesota, bubble screens and short pass attempts characterized USC’s aerial attack. Of junior quarterback Matt Barkley’s 45 pass attempts, 36 of them netted ten yards or less. Furthermore, nine of Robert Woods’ seventeen catches came on one-step drops by Barkley. The Golden Gopher defense adjusted, and as a result, the USC offense was shut down.

How many players will Lane Kiffin use?

Before the season kicked off, Kiffin stated he would rotate players heavily. However, the Trojans used very few players in the win against Minnesota. Overall, 43 saw action, with 19 of those on the defensive side of the ball. Late in the season, depth could become an issue if the starters’ minutes pile up.

Can Robert Woods win the Heisman?

The sophomore sensation, who earned Freshman All-America honors last year, broke the school record for most catches in a single game with 17 in the opener. He managed to amass 177 yards and 3 touchdowns in his historic performance. If Woods can have another big game against a Utah secondary that had one combined start coming in to the season, he is sure to move in to the spotlight early on. After Saturdays win, several reporters asked Woods about the attention he might receive nationally. He responded, “It doesn’t matter to me. I’m just going to go home, turn on film and get ready to play Utah.”

Will Utah’s defensive line dominate USC’s offensive line?

All week, Lane Kiffin has raved about the talent Utah possesses on their defensive line. He declared them the best he has seen since returning to USC, and that will prove to be a tremendous challenge. USC’s offensive line is still trying to become a cohesive unit, and it will not be easy to establish the run and protect Barkley against the Utes’ talented corps.