We made a lot of mistakes in that game all around, but we played really well for three other games and so we’re just focusing on what we do well — what things we think we can execute against UCLA this week and just trying to get better. —Utah quarterback coach Aaron Roderick
SALT LAKE CITY — After a subpar performance in Saturday’s 28-27 loss to Washington State, the Utah Utes are busy trying to get their pass offense back on target before heading to the Rose Bowl this weekend to face No. 8 UCLA.
“There are lessons in every game. Most films aren’t as bad as you think and they’re not as good as you think and there is always some stuff you can improve on,” said Utah quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick. “We made a lot of mistakes in that game all around, but we played really well for three other games and so we’re just focusing on what we do well — what things we think we can execute against UCLA this week and just trying to get better.”
The Utes averaged 274.6 passing yards in season-opening victories over Idaho State, Fresno State and Michigan, but just 165 against Washington State.
“We’ve just got to play better this week,” said Roderick, who noted the Utes (3-1, 0-1) have eight more opportunities ahead. “You have to prove yourself every week and so you don’t look too far ahead or look too far back. You’ve got to prove yourself every week and try to win this one game and then that’s it.”
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham acknowledged that the offense is a work in progress, noting that the run game looked good Saturday but adding that the Utes have to be more productive in the throw game. They completed just 18 of 40 passes against the Cougars.
“We’ve just got to get things corrected and we will. It starts with pass protection. That’s got to be better and so it’s not one guy or one phase of the throwing game,” Whittingham said. “It’s everybody needs to be better at what we’re doing. We need to coach it better.”
Whittingham explained that there were a lot of drops and wide-open routes that were missed — just a lot of plays to be made that the Utes typically make but didn’t.
THE QUARTERBACKS: Although Whittingham said that backup Kendal Thompson should have been given a series or two in the second half last Saturday to see if he could spark something with the offense, there is no quarterback controversy brewing up on the hill. Whittingham told reporters Tuesday that Travis Wilson is still the starting quarterback.
CARTER UPDATE: Senior safety Tevin Carter, who did not play against Washington State because of an undisclosed injury, returned to practice in a limited capacity on Tuesday.
“He’s going to be available (against UCLA),” Whittingham said. “I’m going to be optimistic and say he is going to be available.”
EXTRA POINTS: Backup safeties Andre Godfrey and Charles Henderson are back on the field after being sidelined with injuries. ... Whittingham said that freshman safety Marcus Williams, who made nine tackles as a starter against Washington State, fought hard and gave everything he got against the Cougars. “He just made some freshman mistakes,” said Whittingham, who added that Williams is going to be a good player in time. ... Senior linebacker Jacoby Hale, who suffered a knee injury in spring ball, took some reps in individual drills. Whittingham said Hale isn’t ready to return full-time yet, but is progressing.
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