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Utah Utes football notebook: Utah would like at least 5 yards per rush

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 12:12 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes fullback Karl Williams (38) runs during practice and the opening day of spring football in Salt Lake City  Tuesday, March 19, 2013.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Utes fullback Karl Williams (38) runs during practice and the opening day of spring football in Salt Lake City Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Although Utah wound up with 148 yards rushing in last week’s 30-26 win over Utah State, it wasn’t good enough to satisfy the coaches or players. The Utes averaged just 3.4 yards per carry.

“I don’t think we ran the football violently enough,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “The run game needs to be more productive and more physical.”

Bubba Poole, who led the Utes with 47 yards on 12 carries against the Aggies, agrees. He acknowledged the need for more aggressiveness to avoid situations like the Utes' inability to score a touchdown from 1 yard out on three consecutive running plays against USU.

“We’re too good of an offense for that to happen,” he said. “In that case, I feel like we’ve got to get the ball in the end zone.”

Utah State Aggies defensive end B.J. Larsen (99) brings down Utah Utes running back James Poole (34) during NCAA football in Salt Lake City  Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Utah won 30-26.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah State Aggies defensive end B.J. Larsen (99) brings down Utah Utes running back James Poole (34) during NCAA football in Salt Lake City Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Utah won 30-26. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Poole explained that the running backs have a goal each game to average at least 5 yards per carry — something they would like to start doing Saturday against Weber State.

IN-AND-OUT: The Utes practiced inside and outside Tuesday. They concluded with the latter as storm clouds approached.

"They told us it was lightning,” Whittingham said. “We were out there for the first two-thirds of practice and the lightning started getting close and rather than shut everything down, we had a natural break, came inside and finished it off.”

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Word is that quarterback Travis Wilson is taller than his listed height of 6 foot 6, and apparently it’s true.

Whittingham acknowledged that the sophomore has grown a bit.

“We’ll go with 6-7 from now on,” he said. “How about that? Keep it consistent.”

STARTING STRONG: A win over Weber State will give Utah its first 2-0 start to a season since 2010. Whittingham acknowledged that’s a big deal, especially when it comes to building momentum before next week’s Pac-12 opener against Oregon State and the Utes’ favorable early slate featuring five of their opening six games at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

“It’s important that we take advantage of the home schedule early in the season because it gets very difficult as the season goes on,” Whittingham said.

Utah plays four of its final six games on the road.

Contributing: Mike Sorensen Email: dirk@desnews.com Twitter: @DirkFacer

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