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Utes football notebook: John White can catch Darrell Mack's single-season rushing mark

Published: Thursday, Nov. 17 2011 7:48 p.m. MST

Utah Utes running back John White IV (15) runs for a touchdown as the University of Utah defeats UCLA 31-6 in PAC 12 football Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — John White IV's ascent on Utah's single-season career rushing chart is expected to continue Saturday at Washington State. The junior is just 14 yards away from passing Darrell Mack (1,204 in 2007) for third place on the list.

Carl Monroe holds the school record with 1,507 yards in 1982. Dameon Hunter is second with 1,396 in 2001.

Finishing on top, though, isn't White's primary focus right now.

"I'm just going to worry about it at the end of the season," he said. "We'll see where I'm at, at the end of the season, and I'll just take it from there."

White is averaging 119.1 yards per game, ranking him second in the Pac-12 and ninth in the nation.

Offensive coordinator Norm Chow said the 5-foot-8, 186-pound junior college transfer has been unbelievable. White is averaging 23.8 carries per game.

"I never thought a guy could carry that many times and still be effective. That's what big backs do. That's what NFL backs do. By the third or fourth quarter, they're wearing on you," Chow explained. "He's not a big guy. Oh yeah, he's terrific. It's sad because Harvey (Langi) and Tauni Vakapuna deserve a little shot, too, but you can't afford to take him out of there."

White insists he's fine with the workload. He credits his teammates for the making the ground game efficient.

"Everybody is doing their job," White said while acknowledging that setting the single-season rushing record would mean a lot down the road.

"It would be icing," he noted. "It would be great."

BIG-TIME BLECHEN: When asked what makes sophomore safety Brian Blechen tick, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham had a quick response.

"He's got a lot of natural instincts," Whittingham said. "That was very evident from when we first got him on campus."

Blechen, he noted, was recruited as a quarterback but was moved to safety over his first summer in the program.

"And he was all for it. He showed up and he's a natural from the word go," Whittingham said. "We didn't have to teach him much. He's got a lot of natural ability and he's just a pure football player."

RUNNIN' UTES: Whittingham noted that Utah's offense has had to be creative in finding ways to keep people off balance while favoring the run.

"You've got to do things formation-wise to not give tendencies away and be predictable," he said. "And so you've got to work long and hard at devising ways to manufacture runs, for sure."

Chow credits everyone for working awfully hard to make it happen.

"People take the run away with an extra guy and we just try to run away from that guy," Chow said. "I think our guys realize how important running the football really is."

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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