College football: Utah hopes new offense key to Pac-12 title contention

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is tired of the close calls.

Utah has gradually progressed as a program since joining the Pac-12 in 2011 and is one of five teams in the nation to be ranked in every College Football Playoff weekly poll since it began in 2014. Still, the Utes have yet to reach the conference championship game.

Utah opened fall camp Friday with a brand new, fast-paced, pass-first offense led by first-year coordinator Troy Taylor. This is the first time coach Kyle Whittingham has stepped away from his run-heavy, grind-it-out scheme since taking over in 2005.

“We’ve been running the heck out of the ball for a lot of years and the last three years, in particular, haven’t gotten over the hump,” Whittingham said. “We’ve got to be better throwing the football. That’s (Taylor’s) forte. That’s his area of expertise. That and quarterback development.

“That’s the two areas that really need to be bolstered and that’s his cup of tea.”

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The receivers feel more involved and believe they’ll be put to better use. The quarterback competition is technically open, but it would be a surprise if Troy Williams wasn’t named the starter for a second consecutive year. He threw for 2,757 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season while completing 53.1 percent of his passes in 2016. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound senior is more comfortable considering he’s run the progression-based scheme before as a freshman at Washington before transferring. Williams is one of many on the roster who feel they let 2016 get away after losing three of the final four Pac-12 games.

“I want to put up 50 a game to show the world we’re not messing around,” Williams said.

The Carson, California native didn’t back down when asked if that was a realistic goal.

“Most definitely,” Williams said. “I feel like we can average a lot of points, especially with the weapons we have and the defense we…

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