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Utah Notes: Jugular Time For Karl

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Alright, I will pivot and start looking ahead to this weekend's game against Utah. To get some info on Utah, I first turned out to JazzyUte, my SBN colleague over at Block U, who has put together the best non-BCS blog in the internets. What can I say?

If Jazzy is one of the best representatives of the Utah fan base, then we can conclude that we are about to take on a demoralized program, whose followers are already putting up the white flag:

So does Utah stand any chance of winning? Well crazier things have happened, but I doubt it. The Bruins are too talented and Utah has shown no signs of offensive movement to give me hope that they will be able to keep up with the Bruins. Though with minimal mistakes -- no picks, Grady -- the Utes could keep the game rather close. From there, who knows what could happen, as Appalachian State proved in week one that even the most talented teams can lose to lesser opponents. The fact this game is being played in Salt Lake City gives me some hope, yet that's almost dashed when I realize they lost to Air Force last week...and that was a home game too.

The Bruins should win, most likely will win and if they don't, it will be a loss worthy for near-top story on SportsCenter. That's good for Utah, because they'll go into this game with nothing to lose. A loss is expected and doesn't hurt them in conference play, while a victory would be worthy of a little rioting. And I've always wanted to riot!

Of course that is not going to happen because A) we don't riot here and B) the Utes probably won't win. Though I can dream, right?

Hopefully the Utes keeps it competitive, take it down to the wire and maybe finish with a moral victory. It's possible if Utah can find a running game, their receivers can catch and Grady looks more poised, but those are big ifs.
Did you get that? At this point, Utah fans are relegate to hoping and praying for "a moral victory" against UCLA.

If there was ever a time for Dorrell to go for the jugular and ameliorate some of the chronic concerns associated with his listless but talented/underachieving football program, this is it. This is the game for UCLA to get better after last weekend's disappointing performance, and position itself in a good place heading into its second conference game against Washington.

Utes are bruised and battered:
Without quarterback Brian Johnson and running back Matt Asiata, Utah had an uphill battle entering its game against Air Force.

Losing two more starters proved even more damaging as the Utes lost 20-12 to the visiting Falcons.

Wide receiver Brent Casteel suffered a season-ending tear of his anterior cruciate ligament, and defensive tackle Gabe Long will miss three to five weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament.

Johnson and Asiata were hurt in Utah's 24-7 loss to Oregon State on Aug. 30, and the Utes' 0-2 start is their first since 2000.

"We've been hit by the injury bug a little bit," coach Kyle Whittingham told the Deseret Morning News, looking to this week's matchup with nationally ranked UCLA. "But you know how much UCLA cares about that? Not a bit. They're going to go for the jugular. So we can't feel sorry for ourselves."
So they are bracing for a Bruin onslaught. And Utah's weaknesses play right into our strengths. We have a decent running attack. Guess what, Utah's rushing defense is atrocious:
Utah's run defense, which had emerged as one of the best to play against the triple-option, had few answers for Air Force coach Troy Calhoun's hybrid scheme that produced nearly 400 yards of offense. If coach Kyle Whittingham can't figure a scheme to stop the run and the matchups become a question of talent, the Utes will be hard-pressed to stop UCLA next week.
As pointed out in our morning notes today, Utah (0-2) ranks 113th out of 119 teams in the nation against the run. So you would think the natural strategy would be to come out and ram it down their throats early in the first half mostly with Bell, and set up Olson with short yardage situations on second and third downs. I sure hope we don't see what we saw against Rice last year when our coaches had Ben come out throwing, neglecting the rushing game, and putting him in constant 3rd and long situations.

I would think it would make sense to run all over these guys (and not just up the middle) by using different looks. Perhaps some toss sweeps, run to the outside, and maybe chang up the pace by bringing in Ramirez and Markey. And then get Ben to throw with a little play action here and there.

This is the game in which, if the coaches put together a well laid out game plan, making it easy for Ben to manage the game, it will restore a lot of the confidence the offense lost early in the second half against BYU. Anyways, for more notes on Utah Defense check out Bruin Roar's post from the off-season.

As for our defense, they should be able to gobble up the Utah offense because it is not very good. It's rushing attack is nonexistent. They have been using Ray Stowers and Darryl Poston (I believe a transfer from Southern Cal). But none of them are averaging even 3.5 yards per carry.

Our defense should be able to tee off on Tommy Grady, who despite some desperation yardage in the last quarter against Air Force, is completing less than 50 percent of his passes. Through 2 games Grady has completed 29 of 63 passes (46%), throwing 1 TD while getting pick off twice. [See]. I would think this would be a great game for UCLA's defensive backfield to get its act together and put together its first consistent performance of the season by shutting down an an anemic bunch of Ute receivers. Again, its time for especially Keyes and Horton to live up their pre-season hype and show they are worthy of some of the talk about them being the best safety combination in the Pac-10.

However you look at it (and I am sure we will have more Utah related notes later this week), this is a game for UCLA to dominate and send a signal that it is truly worthy of all the hype it has been getting leading into this season. If UCLA was a Pac-10 championship caliber team (which is what it needs to be for Dorrell to maintain a legit claim to his current job), this is the game they come out and take care of business with methodical precision on the road. If we get anything less, the questions will continue to swirl around and dog the Thinker's program.

Time for the jugular Karl.