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Utah football: John White carries Utah again, but gets help this time

Published August 31, 2012 2:00 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kyle Whittingham spent the fall singing the virtues of Utah's versatility and depth at running back.

The group was pretty special on Thursday: Nimble, fast, efficient. And that was just John White.

What, you thought this year would be any different?

The 5-foot-8 running back rushed for 119 yards on 24 carries in the Utes' 41-0 romp over Northern Colorado, scoring one touchdown and setting up several more before taking a seat in the fourth quarter.

It was the ninth time in his career White rushed for more than 100 yards.

What did the Torrance, Calif., native — who the Utes have billed as a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate — think of his season debut?

"I felt like it was good," White said. "I felt like it needs to be better but I'm going to take it. Five yards [per carry] is very efficient running so, just get better next week."

Whittingham said White's 24 carries were in line with the coaches' goal for him, while backups Jarrell Oliver and Kelvin York carried the ball seven and five times, respectively, for a combined 39 yards.

"That's the extra 12 that John would have had last year," Whittingham said.

This season, the Utes have enough depth to keep White's workload more manageable. A year ago, the transfer from Los Angeles Harbor College ranked third in the nation with 316 carries en route to a school-record 1,519 yards.

There was no easing into this season for the senior.

He carried the ball on four straight plays to open the game, quickly accumulating 27 yards. He scored on a 5-yard run on fourth down in the second quarter, breaking away from the Northern Colorado defense with a devastating left cut.

"He has a whole bag full of missed tackles that he brings to each game and he starts handing them out as the game goes on," Whittingham said. "That's his game, he's a darter and he can change direction and make you look foolish at times."

In an overall workmanlike performance against a dazed Football Championship Subdivision opponent, those times were abundant: On a devastating 21-play drive, on a 28-yard run in the third quarter when he was able to show off his speed.

"John White did his thing," Whittingham said. "It's about what we need from him every game." —

Utes on the ground

Name Carries Yds. TD

John White 24 119 1

Jarrell Oliver 7 20 —

Kelvin York 5 19 —