Going with the Utes today in Sun Bowl
Published: December 31, 2011 09:02AM
Updated: December 31, 2011 09:02AM
Can the Utes stop Georgia Tech's run game? Can John White get his 100 yards? Will Norm Chow's going away present to the Utes be an offensive scheme good enough to give the Utes a bowl win?
I say yes on all accounts. Going with the Utes today in the bowl game because I believe Utah's past experiences against the option have helped them prepare for the Yellow Jackets.
If anything, there is some concern that the Utes might have prepared too much. They had a couple poor practices this week in the coaches' estimation, which makes one wonder if the players have lost their edge a bit.
If the Utes come out flat or look less than at their best, too many practices and not enough down time might be why.
However, you can't argue with coach Kyle Whittingham's bowl preparation tactics so far, after all he is 6-1.
The injuries to offensive lineman Miles Mason (elbow) and defensive lineman Dave Kruger (leg infection) are a concern too since neither are expected to play.
Kruger's absence won't be missed quite as much as Mason's because the defensive line has a lot of depth. Sophomore Jeremiah Tofaeono will start in Mason's place. Watch for the Yellow Jackets to test him early.
As for Utah's preparation for the option, Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake said the Utes used several different scouts, including some safeties (Lewis Walker and Tyler White), to mimic Georgia Tech quarterback Tevan Washington to help the Utes prepare.
"Our scouts did a good job watching film and studying him," he said. "It's never perfect, but they did a nice job. The funny thing is though, you can get the scout team ready and run it, but the speed is the biggest obstacle. When you get out there, you still aren't used to seeing it. But the guys will be ready to play."
Talk of Georgia Tech's speed has come up several times among Utah's defenders as they say the Yellow Jackets are a lot like Air Force, only quicker.
Handling opponents' speed has never been much of an issue for the Utes in the past, I doubt it will be the case today.