The Utah Utes were forced to turn their offense over to an 18-year old freshman in Travis Wilson last season due to injuries and ineffectiveness from their more experienced signal callers on the roster. Wilson struggled, as any freshman pushed into the starting lineup ahead of schedule would, and the Utes limped to a disappointing finish to their 2012 season. In 2013, Wilson is ready to step up as a leader of this offense and should become the most improved player in the Pac 12 for 2013.
Wilson flashed some nice ability at times last season, but his inexperience inevitably reared its ugly head. He finished the season completing 62.7 percent of his passes for 1,311 yards with seven touchdown passes and six interceptions. The Utes struggled to move the ball through air last season, ranking as one of the Pac 12′s worst passing offenses. Head coach Kyle Whittingham was satisfied relying on his senior running back John White to lead the offense, despite less than stellar results.
This season, Utah will look to open up the offense much more and put the ball into the air with more regularity thanks to the arrival of co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson. Considered one of the founders of the spread offense, Erickson has promised to pick up the pace of the offense in 2013 and to put the ball in the quarterback’s hands more often with the passing attack. He understands that Wilson was “thrown to the wolves” last season as a freshman, but expects him to improve with every game as he takes lessons from that tough first season to become a tougher and more effective leader.
For Wilson, he feels the key to this season will be to find a way to find consistent production in the offense. He knows that many people won’t be expecting a lot out of the Utes following their struggles last season, but he is confident that this offense is capable of surprising people and getting Utah some victories this fall. His teammates seem to agree and feel he’s the guy to get them there, as demonstrated by their vote to make Wilson an offensive captain, despite having less than a season of experience under his belt.
With an offensive coordinator willing to put the ball in his hands and a team behind him that believes in his ability, Travis Wilson is poised to take some major steps as a football player in 2013. Whether those steps will push Utah into the race for a division title or not remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, however: No player in the conference will see a bigger jump in production from last season than Wilson.