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Utah Utes football notebook: Too much John White IV has been good for Utes

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 2 2011 7:12 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham acknowledges it's not ideal. Handing the ball off to one running back 35 times, let alone 36, in a game is a heavy workload.

John White IV isn't ever going to complain about it, however. Whittingham said he's a tough, competitive kid.

"He wants the ball in his hands. But that's a lot of carries and you probably can't do that every single week," Whittingham said. "You've got to pick your spots. That's a full afternoon's work for one running back."

It's also been a good game plan for the Utes. They're 2-0 when White has excessive carries — defeating Pittsburgh (36 rushes) and Oregon State (35 runs).

"Knock on wood he's been very durable. He holds up," Whittingham said. "He's a physical runner. He runs far bigger than his 185-pound frame."

Whittingham noted than White had a lot of carries in junior college. He did, averaging more than 16 carries per game at Los Angeles Harbor College.

At Utah, though, his workload is up to almost 23 rushes per outing.

GAINING EXPERIENCE: Whittingham said quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson is well ahead of the curve in his second year on the staff. Developing Jon Hays in place of injured starter Jordan Wynn has helped.

"I think this will end up being a great learning experience for him and I think he's handling it very well," Whittingham said.

TAKING OVER: Since replacing the fired Mike Stoops on Oct. 10, Arizona interim head coach Tim Kish acknowledges it's been a wild ride. However, he also calls it a good journey.

"I absolutely love being in front of these kids. They're so positive and the seniors have been absolutely tremendous with the ownership of this team," said Kish, who is also the Wildcats' defensive coordinator. "We're not losing sight of where we're going with the second half of the season."

The most meaningful thing, he added, is learning how to adapt to a curve ball.

"We're going through a life lesson right here. We want to win a football game. We want to win as many as we can all the way out," Kish continued. "But we've got the bigger picture that we're dealing with as well. So I think that's important that we keep our focus that way. But it's been good."

Email: dirk@desnews.com. Twitter: @DirkFacer

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