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Utah Utes football notebook: U. offense looking for a faster start out of the gate

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 28 2011 10:14 p.m. MDT

Coach Kyle Whittingham walks with Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn at a Utes' scrimmage. (Mike Terry, Deseret News) Coach Kyle Whittingham walks with Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn at a Utes' scrimmage. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It took Utah's offense a while to get going in the Utes' 54-10 rout of BYU on Sept. 17.

The first touchdown drive didn't come until late in the second quarter. The offense managed six more scoring series after halftime in a game where the defense bookended the point production with touchdowns to start and finish things off.

Quarterback Jordan Wynn acknowledged it would be nice to get into a rhythm early. However, it's something that may be easier said than done.

"It kind of just has to happen. Part of that you can kind of force it with the tempo you go at, but even that sometimes doesn't work. So I don't know what it is," Wynn explained. "But, yeah, we definitely need to get started faster and get up, especially with the kind of defense that we have. If we get up, we can put teams away."

Utah Utes quarterback Jordan Wynn (3) passes over the defense as BYU and Utah play Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 (Scott G Winerton, Deseret News) Utah Utes quarterback Jordan Wynn (3) passes over the defense as BYU and Utah play Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 (Scott G Winerton, Deseret News)

As for the defense Utah faces Saturday, Wynn considers Washington an opportunistic bunch that make plays when needed.

"That just means that we've got to go out and play well all four quarters. We can't score a lot of points and then all of a sudden think that's it," Wynn said. "We've got to continue to score. They're an athletic group and it should make for a good game."

IN THE TRENCHES: When asked about the likelihood of Utah playing without right tackle Tony Bergstrom (knee) this Saturday, starting right guard Sam Brenner referenced a moniker the line uses when facing adversity.

"Our coach always says A-I-O — adapt, improvise, overcome. So that's what we're going to do," Brenner said. "We're just going to go with the guys we've got and do the best we can."

It worked out well at BYU when sophomore Percy Taumoelau stepped in for Bergstrom early in the game. Taumoelau is expected to make his first career start against Washington.

University of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham says this week's bye will allow the Utes to regroup for University of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham says this week's bye will allow the Utes to regroup for "three tough games in a row." (August Miller, Deseret Morning News)

TURNOVER TALK: Washington coach Steve Sarkisian offered his observation on Utah's defense and the 12 takeaways (including a national-high eight fumble recoveries) the Utes have garnered in their first three games.

"They play hard. They play with amazing effort," Sarkisian said. "They fly to the football and in turn I think that's why they create so many turnovers."

GOOD BYE OR BAD BYE?: Wynn noted that only time will tell if last week's bye came at a good time or not. It came much earlier than in season's past.

"That's tough to say. We'll know over the next nine weeks," Wynn said. "You can never really project when to have the right time for a bye. So we'll see."

Utah's approach, though, was no different, The Utes are 6-0 under Whittingham following bye weeks.

EXTRA POINTS: Members of the Rose Bowl committee will attend Saturday's game. … The last road team to prevail in Salt Lake City following a Utah bye week was Sarkisian and the BYU Cougars in 1996. … This is the Utes' first homecoming game against a current Pac-12 team since hosting Arizona State in 1975. … Utah recruit Po'u Palelei, an offensive lineman from Las Vegas, finally joined the team this week after completing junior college academic requirements. Whittingham said Palelei is starting at "square one" and is not ready to play soon.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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