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Whittingham says Cal is talented across the board

Published: Thursday, Oct. 25 2012 4:28 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham as the Univeristy of Utah and Arizona State University play PAC 12 football Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Tempe, Arizona.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — California coach Jeff Tedford is tired of talking about last week's 21-3 loss to rival Stanford. He made that clear at his weekly press conference.

"It's time to move on," Tedford said. "We took our lumps and now we need to move forward."

At 3-5 overall and 2-3 in Pac-12 play, the Golden Bears are in a tough spot. Speculation is mounting about Tedford's future, and the schedule doesn't offer much help. After facing Utah Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Cal has home games against Washington and Oregon before closing out the regular season at Oregon State.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham declined to discuss the mitigating circumstances surrounding Cal. He's more concerned about something else.

"They're dangerous because they're very talented," Whittingham said. "They've got talent across the board."

Headliners include quarterback Zach Maynard (1,751 passing yards), wide receiver Keenan Allen (56 catches for 676 yards) and running backs C.J. Anderson (503 yards), Isi Sofele (430 yards) and Brendan Bigelow (277 yards).

Sofele, a senior, is one of two former Cottonwood High School Colts on Cal's roster — junior defensive lineman Keni Kaufusi is the other.

Standouts on defense include senior safety Josh Hill, who leads the Bears with 57 tackles. Others to watch include sophomore linebacker Nick Forbes (56 tackles) and junior cornerback Steve Williams (three interceptions).

IT'S A BLACKOUT: Although he acknowledges it's never a problem at Rice-Eccles Stadium anyway, Whittingham noted that the annual "blackout" adds some juice and excitement to the game.

"I've been in so many, it seems like every other week is a blackout," Whittingham said. "But it's fun for the crowd, I hope, that's the point of it."

The Utes also enjoy wearing black. Whittingham noted that the majority of players in this day and age have an interest in sporting different uniforms during the season.

Utah is 3-1 in "blackout" games — defeating TCU (2008), Wyoming (2009) and Oregon State (2011). The lone loss was to TCU in 2010.

EXTRA POINTS: Once a limited number of tickets that were returned by Cal are sold, the Utah ticket office will offer standing-room-only admissions to Saturday's game. … Participants in a halftime Halloween costume contest for children 12 and under will be chosen at the Ute Walk, which begins at 5:45 p.m. on the corner of 500 South and Guardsman Way. … The Utes have been outscored 62-28 in the first quarter this season. … Sophomore V.J. Fehoko, who was moved to defensive end for a couple of weeks, is back at linebacker.

Email: dirk@desnews.comTwitter: @DirkFacer

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