SALT LAKE CITY — Going into the 2011 season with six freshmen on a 12-member team, Utah's gymnastics coaches weren't sure what they'd have this year.
It turns out — as Utah goes into its third meet of the season tonight at Nebraska at 6 p.m. MST in Devaney Center — the freshmen have been quite steady, if not spectacular, and the veterans have been the ones with the falls.
"The little mistakes we're making right now are by upperclassmen," said coach Greg Marsden, whose club is 2-0 after beating defending NCAA champion UCLA in its season-opener and winning at Georgia, which won five straight national championships before UCLA broke the string last April. Utah hadn't won a regular-season meet at Georgia since 1991.
The little mistakes Marsden mentioned were a fall from beam by senior Gael Mackie in the season-opener and three mess-ups by seniors at Georgia — a bars routine by Cortni Beers that simply would not get put together and scored 8.60, followed by Kyndal Robarts touching a knee down (which counts as a fall) on her double Arabian on floor, and a fall from beam by Beers.
"It's kind of ironic right now that that's who's making the mistakes," Marsden said.
The good news is that Utah didn't have to count any of the mistakes, and Marsden said he doesn't have the feeling that there's any real troubling trend going on.
"I don't think at this point it's anything that I'm concerned about," he said. "Those people are training well.
"That's part of what we're trying to determine now, if we have issues we need to address. You can't expect everybody to be perfect every night.
"Sometimes it's just somebody makes a mistake," said Marsden. "Hopefully, as the season goes on, we'll make fewer. I don't see any tendencies, but it's early."
Despite the errors, Marsden saw improvement last week, with three vaults stuck instead of one and a good balance-beam set, other than the non-counting fall.
"It's really just a matter of slowly but surely eliminating deductions and getting a little more consistent, but right now, everything seems just like early season mistakes," Marsden said.
Robarts said her issues will probably be solved by just working harder on floor. She's held off a bit due to some "aches and pains" but planned to put in more time in the coming weeks.
The fourth-ranked Utes will meet a ninth-ranked, 1-1 Cornhusker club making its home debut with a pack-the-house promotion that Marsden hopes is successful.
"That's one of the things that can be a little tough there, a quiet environment," he said. "Part of it is the way their arena is set up (with fans up high off the floor). I think we enjoy that (noisy) environment."
Nebraska has four All-Americans returning from a team that placed seventh at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
No. 4 Utah (2-0) at No. 9 Nebraska (1-1)
Tonight, 6 p.m. MST
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