SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s slide from a 4-0 start has now reached three games. Saturday’s 30-10 loss to Arizona State followed close setbacks to Stanford (23-20) and USC (28-27).
The situation, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham explained, requires the Utes to be resilient — same as every week.
“When you drop a football game or when you win a football game you have to come back with the same resolve and the same work habits. They understand that. That is something that we preach,” Whittingham said. “You have to get ready for the next Saturday regardless of what happened on the previous one. So, I think it is a pretty mature football team and I think we have good leadership and my guess is we will come back and have a good week of practice.”
Whittingham added that the coaches have to do a better job of getting the players ready, putting them in positions to be successful.
NOT REAL SCARY: Whittingham noted that the defense didn’t play “horribly” in the loss to Arizona State.
“We held them to about 340 yards or so, and that can lead the conference if you can do it every week. But again, it just wasn't good enough against the run,:” he said. “That is something that has shown up in the last few weeks now. That was due to technique errors. We had 16 missed tackles, which is too many. The technique errors on the edge was what really caused us a bunch of yards in the run game. So, that was not good.”
GETTING SACKS: Sack Lake City awoke from a two-game slumber and got back on the board with a takedown by linebacker Cody Barton on Saturday. The Utes now have 12 sacks on the season, two less than their opponents.
Defensive tackle Filipo Mokofisi said it’ll take more effort from the guys to get more sacks.
“We’ve talked about it for the past three weeks,” he said. “So it’s just us trying to get it done.”
Mokofisi acknowledged that the defensive line is seeing a lot of max-pro schemes going on, but there’s also drop-back pass blocking.
“Obviously we’ve got to get some guys healthy,” he said. “It’ll help our pass rush.”
MISSING MEN: Targeting calls will keep linebacker Donavan Thompson and safety Corrion Ballard out of the first half of the game at Oregon. They may not be the only ones missing action in Eugene.
"There are a few other guys that are in question for this game as well,” Whittingham said. “So as we start to get more feedback tomorrow morning with where these guys are, we will have to see what the likelihood of them playing is.”
MORE MOSS: After rushing for a career-high 141 yards against USC, running back Zack Moss had just 49 against Arizona State. He carried the ball only 12 times.
“He is on his way to being a 1,000-yard back if we feed him the ball a little bit more,” Whittingham said. “By the same token, early in the season, his play didn't really warrant more carries, but now that he has become a different player, absolutely, he needs to get more carries than he did on Saturday."
Moss has rushed for 534 yards this season, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
EXTRA POINTS: Saturday’s game will be a homecoming for receiver Darren Carrington II, who played for the Ducks the past three seasons before transferring to Utah . . . The Utes are being penalized 73.9 yards per game, 25 yards more than their opponents . . . Kicker Matt Gay leads the nation in field goals made (17) . . . Punter Mitch Wishnowsky is second in the country with a net punting average of 46.6 yards . . . Like Utah, Oregon has lost three straight games.