The Utah Utes believe they have one of the best defensive lines in the country and they plan to use it to the utmost abilities come Saturday against Oregon State.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham believes the best way to handle Beavers’ quarterback Sean Mannion is to keep him moving.
“You have to get in his face,” Whittingham said. “If he has time to go through his read progressions he is going to pick you apart.”
Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake said Mannion will be a good test for the Utes to see how they might handle all the good quarterbacks in the Pac-12.
“It’s crazy. A lot of the quarterbacks in the conference throw like him,” he said. “He has such a strong arm and you say well we will see it a lot this week, but then, we are going to see it a lot all year.”
The Utes hope defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi, who had eight tackles and 1.5 sacks against Weber State, can be just as disruptive Saturday.
Defensive end/linebacker Trevor Reilly is another looking for a big game. Reilly leads the team with 14 tackles and a pass breakup and is confident in the line’s play heading into Saturday’s game.
“Utah has set a precedent for being a D-line university,” he said. “Look at the guys in the NFL playing and we have great coaching. It’s going to be a given for us every year.”
Big weekend for recruits
The Utes are bringing in several recruits with Florida connections this weekend, thanks to the lure of Dennis Erickson.
Three players visiting are coming from Miami’s Booker T. Washington H.S, the No. 1 ranked high school team in the country in USA Today’s rankings.
Wide receivers Lamar Parker (5-foot-8, 170-pounds), who has committed to West Virginia and Deltron Hopkins (5-8, 160), who has committed Appalachian State, will join teammate Nigel Bethel II, (5-8, 168) in visiting the Utes this weekend.
Bethel, who has committed to Miami, said he is interested in visiting the Utes because of Erickson and Utah’s affiliation with the Pac-12.
How much consideration he’ll give the Utes is still to be determined.
“I won’t know until I get there,” he said.
The Utes are also hosting Juwan Dowels, a 5-11, 160-pound corner out of American Heritage in Plantation, Fla., and Brandon Snell, a 6-1, 190-pound receiver out of Garden City Community College in Kansas who prepped at Carol City H.S. in Miami.
Dowls committed to Northern Illinois in July. Snell committed to Louisville out of high school then de-committed.
Ready to go
Running back James Poole, who had three carries for 44 yards against Weber State, said he is feeling more and more confident with the more carries he gets.
“I’m starting to pick up everything now,” he said. “Every time I touch the ball I want to make a play.”
He and fellow running back Kelvin York might get a lot of chances Saturday if the Utes try to keep Oregon State’s offense off the field by relying on the ground game.
“We want to use both the pass to open the run game and open the run game with the pass,” he said. “We definitely want to get some yards on the ground.”