Utah Utes football notebook: Defense prepared for Air Force triple option

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 13 2015 2:04 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite dedicating time to Air Force's triple-option attack in spring ball, fall camp and during the bye week, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham acknowledges "you always wish you had more time" to prepare for it.

But what the Utes do certainly doesn't hurt.

"That gives us a foundation that gives us the basic structure of the scheme," Whittingham said. "And this is the week that you fine tune it."

The Falcons enter Saturday's game in Colorado as the nation's leader in rushing offense. They're averaging 326.5 yards per contest. By contrast, the Utes have allowed just 87.4 yards per game on the ground — best in the Mountain West Conference.

Although Air Force will sprinkle in some play-action passes and traditional running plays, Whittingham acknowledged the first area of concern is the Falcons' famed triple option. It's the starting point in stopping their offensive scheme.

"It's assignment football. Everybody's got to do their job," Whittingham said. "Any breakdown in the assignments and you're looking at big plays."

The Utes take a 1/11th approach — meaning everyone is accountable.

"Do your job," said defensive end Christian Cox. "Stay with your assignment."

FAREWELL TOUR: Saturday's game will be Utah's second-to-last road contest in the MWC. The Utes, who become members of the Pac-12 in July, have already made final league trips over the past two seasons to BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, TCU, UNLV and Wyoming — leaving only San Diego State (Nov. 20 at Qualcomm Stadium) to go after the Air Force trip.

EXTRA POINTS: The Utes have practiced the past two days at Rice-Eccles Stadium because of the wet weather. ... Utah's remaining home games against TCU (Nov. 6) and BYU (Nov. 27) are completely sold out, including standing-room-only tickets. ... Saturday's weather at Air Force calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 72 and a low of 41. There is a 20 percent chance of precipitation.

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