Utah is kind of a wild card in the South again this year. There isn't a team anywhere that wants to face a Kyle Whittingham defense, but that offense is in question. The competition at the quarterback position will continue this fall, but the wide receivers -- devoid of Britain Covey (519 yards, four TDs) and Kenneth Scott (457 yards, four TDs) -- might actually be the biggest question mark for the Utes this season.
Twice, the Utes have come within striking distance of the Pac-12 title game and the passing game has been a big reason why they weren't able to get there. So, Whittingham knows that unit must step up even without the production of the team's two leading receivers from last season.
The Utes released a depth chart earlier this month and it gave a glimpse into what the Utes could look like at wide receiver in 2016.
At X, Utah has sophomores Tyrone Smith and Caleb Repp. At H, there's Cory Butler-Byrd and Kyle Fulks. At Z, they've got Tim Patrick and Raelon Singleton. It makes for an interesting combination of players -- none have caught more than 20 passes during a single season (Smith caught 18 last season, Patrick caught 16 in 2014).
The battle at Z-receiver will possibly be about which player can stay healthy. Both Patrick and Singleton have had injury-riddled careers, but Patrick showed flashes in 2014 and Whittingham has complimented Singleton plenty during his limited time at Utah.
At H, you'll have two players who have the ability to play either side of the ball, but will be focusing at wide receiver this fall. Fulks had too many drops last season, according to Whittingham, but he has made a lot of progress in that regard.
Butler-Byrd is a name Utah fans will recognize. He contributed in a lot of areas last season, but he'll be "majoring" in wide receiver this season, according to Whittingham. The move from both sides of the ball to just offense could be a big boost to his abilities and the Utes if he pans out as a reliable receiver.
"He's a tremendous talent," Whittingham said. "He's a JC transfer. Typically those JC transfers take a year to get settled into your system and then the next year they flourish, and we're hoping that's exactly what happens with Cory. Last year he was able to kind of get his feet wet and this year he completely excels."
And Smith and Repp give the Utes some taller options. Smith, who led all returning receivers in catches last season, has four starts under his belt and could be a big weapon for the Utes at 6-foot-4. Repp, like Butler-Byrd, will be majoring at wide receiver this year after playing some tight end last fall. At 6-foot-5, he's another guy that could prove tough to cover.
The Block U's Shane Roberts summed it up like this: "Looking around the depth chart for the Utes, there are some names that give me some optimism. There's some good pieces for the offense to work with, which could make for an upgrade over a season ago."
He's right. There are a lot of good pieces there for the Utes. But, can they put it together? Give the offense a reliable pass game? And if so, could this be the difference between coming close and getting to the title game?
So many questions. Luckily there are only nine more days until the Utes kick off fall camp and can begin putting together their answers.