SALT LAKE CITY — Utah faces another top receiver Saturday at Colorado. Sophomore Laviska Shenault of the Buffaloes is the latest in an assembly line of threats for the Utes to cover.
Two weeks ago, N’Keal Harry of Arizona State made nine catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-20 win over Utah. Seven days later, Oregon’s Dillon Mitchell had eight receptions for 169 yards and two scores in a 32-25 loss to the Utes.
Shenault missed three games with a toe injury before returning to make 10 catches for 102 yards in Colorado’s 31-7 setback to Washington State. He’s an obvious primary target for Buffaloes quarterback Steven Montez.
“In this league, you’re going to face elite receivers,” said Utah associate head coach Gary Andersen. “Elite receivers are going to catch some footballs on you and there’s some very good quarterbacks.”
The key to defending such offenses, he noted, begins with the pass rush up front. Overall it takes a combined effort from the entire defense.
“They are going to catch some,” Andersen said. “But we’ve all got to work as a unit.”
STRONG SHOWING: Offensive coordinator Troy Taylor wasn’t surprised how Jason Shelley performed in his first collegiate start. The redshirt freshman threw for 262 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns in Utah’s 32-25 win over Oregon.
“You never know how somebody is going to react, honestly, in a game. But I did think he would be poised,” Taylor said. “He’s always had good vision. He’s always made plays with his legs and he’s been accurate. He did all those things on a big stage. So it was good to see.”
HAPPY CAMPER: Andersen has enjoyed his return to the program after head coaching stints with Utah State, Wisconsin and Oregon State. So much so, in fact, that he deflected a question about his future and possible head coach openings.
“I’m good with what I’m doing, man. I’m really happy. (Wife) Stacy’s back home and I’m afraid if I moved away again I’ll be going by myself,” Andersen said. “I’ve got two grandkids on the way, one in a few weeks and another one in May. So we’re in a great spot right now.”
Andersen elaborated on his situation with the Utes.
“This team, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and I’m looking forward to these next few games and I’m looking forward to the future being with this crew,” Andersen said. “I don’t have one senior. A guy would be pretty crazy to leave this group of kids and be involved in this defense. Really, the whole climate, this whole team, it’s where I like to live.”
Andersen emphasized that it doesn’t mean he’s been around bad kids in the past.5 comments on this story
“I’m not saying that at all,” he added. “But this is a tremendous crew and, you know, it’s the greatest position for me to be in.”
Although Andersen acknowledged that you “never say never,” he said that he loves what he’s doing.
“We’ll see what the future brings,” Andersen said. “But I’m not looking for anything, I’ll tell you that much.”
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No. 19/21 Utah (7-3, 5-3)
at Colorado (5-5, 2-5)
Folsom Field — Boulder
Saturday, 11:30 a.m.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: ESPN 700AM