PASADENA, Calif. — When it comes to takeaways by Utah's defense, there's good news and bad.
"We have done a good job of creating fumbles," said head coach Kyle Whittingham. "We have not done a good job intercepting the ball."
The Utes enter Saturday's game at UCLA as the national leader in forced fumbles with 13 (recovering six). As for interceptions, they have only two. Whittingham called the latter "ridiculous" and noted that things have got to get better in the secondary.
Conversely, Whittingham is relatively pleased that the Utes have lost the ball only seven times (four fumbles, three interceptions).
"I think we've done a nice job overall," he said. "We have not had excessive turnovers at all and so we need to continue that trend."
STAR GAZER: UCLA coach Jim Mora is a big fan of Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. He told reporters this week that the senior is "a great one" and one of the best he's seen.
"He's something special," Mora said. "I'm looking forward to watching him, but hopefully we do a good job against him."
Mora noted that Utah junior defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi is also "dang good."
FORGING AHEAD: Senior running back John White, one of Utah's team captains, said the Utes have done a great job of keeping things together after back-to-back losses to Arizona State and USC.
"We forget about the past and think about the future and the future is UCLA this weekend," White explained.
Despite the 0-2 start in Pac-12 play, White made it clear he'd still like to visit the Rose Bowl twice this season.
"Definitely. Who doesn't?" he said. "It's my senior year and I want to do above and beyond."
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: DirkFacer