After failing to earn significant playing time, fans began to speculate the future of quarterback Kendal Thompson. On Wednesday, the official Utah Utes Football twitter released info stating Thompson's welcome to the program.
It is no secret that Thompson becomes immediately eligible to play in 2014 assuming he graduates in May. However, Utah currently boasts five other quarterbacks on their roster. Can the Oklahoma Sooner transfer come in and compete for the starting job? There are several other questions to explore before signing off with a definitive yes or no.
1) What is the current quarterback situation for the Utes?
As mentioned above, there are five quarterbacks (not including Thompson) on the roster. Dave Christensen, the new offensive coordinator, spoke with the Salt Lake Tribute, stating that he is looking forward to a quarterback battle throughout spring practices. Although the Utes are bringing in yet another offensive coordinator, it appears that head coach, Kyle Whittham may already have a plan in motion.
Travis Wilson started 21 consecutive games before suffering from a concussion that sidelined him. Yet, Whittingham expects the starter to return to form and lead this Utes program once again. Of course, that would require Wilson to be cleared to play by doctors. After numerous exams, Wilson received the news that he would be allowed to participate in spring practices as his family breathed a sigh of relief.
If Wilson receives the nod, Adam Schulz resumes the backup role while three freshman compete for the third spot. But, a quick look back in time reveals 21 interceptions just last season. If that doesn't say "open race," I don't know what does.
2) What is the offensive scheme at Utah?
During the past season, it became clear that the Utes were out to cement themselves as a no-huddle spread offense. Although the seed was planted, the program posted a disappointing 5-7 record (2-7 in conference play) leading to the search for a new offensive coordinator. However, the idea was to keep the current offensive scheme instead of starting from square one with a new coach in place. This mentality instantly scratched any I-Formation or Pro Style coaches off the board.
In December of 2013, a hire was made as Christensen found himself a new home. Known for pioneering the no-huddle spread offense during his tenure at Missouri, this coach seems to be a perfect fit for what Utah is attempting to accomplish. The expectation is that the Utes, while attempting to keep pace with Oregon, will continue to run a no-huddle spread offense out of the shotgun that utilizes the zone-read from time to time.
3) Can Kendal Thomspon compete for early playing time?
In my opinion, the answer to that question is yes.
Thomspon has experience in a no-huddle spread offense type system. He's proven he possesses good arm strength to compliment an elusive running style, something that many programs are looking for in a quarterback these days. His work ethic and smarts, evidence by graduating in three years, go a long way as Thompson begins learning a new system. All the tools are there for this kid...all he needs is the opportunity.
Let us know what you think about Thompson and his chances to start for Utah below!