Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  By ABBEY MASTRACCO  |  Last updated 9/30/13
Travis Wilson's long, shaggy hair and lanky build give him the appearance of a volleyball player more so than a quarterback. It's not completely out of the question as the sophomore out of San Clemente has played some volleyball. But he is, in fact, the leader of the Utes offense. The 12th-ranked Bruins are gearing up to face Wilson in Salt Late City, Thursday night in their Pac-12 opener, and Wilson is now public enemy No. 1 in Westwood. Wilson is an efficient passer and a strong runner, used similar to the way former Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was last season. At 6-foot-7, he's much taller than the running quarterbacks the Bruins have faced, and his arm angle and unconventional delivery can be difficult for the defense to pick up. "He's a different style of runner," said UCLA defensive coordinator Lou Spanos. "However, the result is the same if not greater. He's made a lot of touchdowns, a lot of long runs and he's a good runner. He's a tall runner but he gets a lot of yards and they do a nice job with him." Wilson stepped up as a true freshman last season, replacing the injured Jordan Wynn. And while he did well in his first season, he's playing like a seasoned pro right now. He's averaging 62.8 yards per game and can break off on long runs -- his longest is 51 yards -- and has scored five rushing touchdowns. But he's just as strong in the pocket, completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 1,118 yards and nine touchdowns. Wilson's instincts are good and he's impressed the entire Bruins' defense during film sessions over the last week. "He's a lot more comfortable back there and uses his legs a lot more this year," said linebacker Anthony Barr. "It's going to be different, as far as his size. We'll have to feel it out, we'll start fast and hit him early." Credit Dennis Erickson, Utah's co-offensive coordinator who came out of retirement this season to help Utah's offense. The Utes have found their perfect quarterback to run the zone read, and under the tutelage of Erickson, Wilson has become more confident and more refined. In a thrilling homecoming battle against Oregon State, Wilson showed just how far he had come when he led the Utes on a 17-point rally that forced overtime. The next day, Wilson flew home to attend his best friend Nick Pasquale's funeral, where he met several of Pasquale's Bruin teammates. UCLA is familiar in more ways than one with Wilson. "Now having that extra experience, he can also run the zone read really well, he can scramble if he needs to scramble and he's quite an athlete," said linebacker Jordan Zumwalt. "And I like to play against local kids. I went to a local high school as well so it's like we've got something in common."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker