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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Despite offensive struggles Utes are positive

The Utes are feeling much more positive about themselves now that they broke their losing streak. Now at the halfway mark, the goal is to qualify for a bowl game and win out, they said.

Even with an offense that is struggling, the Utes believe they can finish strong, they said.

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"Saturday was a step in the right direction," linebacker Chaz Walker said. "We have to improve on little things like penalties and little things on defense, but it was definitely a step in the right direction."

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said he has a better feel for the mentality of his team than he did in August.

"It's apparent they are a tough, hard-nosed team that takes care of business," he said. "We've seen that trough the first six games. There is no shortage of work ethic."

Utah's offense needs to be improved, particularly in the red zone for the Utes to continue to win games, Whittingham said.

"That is our biggest issue right now," he said. "Particularly in the last game, we were in the red zone four times and came away with nothing but field goals and had to punt once because of penalties. We need to score."

Whittingham said Brian Blechen would continue to play both linebacker and safety with Keith McGill out for the season with a shoulder injury.

As for Cal, Whittingham said the Utes offered running back Isi Sofele, a Cottonwood H.S. grad who is averaging 90.5 yards a game for the Bears.

"He wasn't ready to make a decision and we filled up before he decided where he was going to go but we liked him," he said. "He is a versatile player. If he wasn't at running back he could be a defensive back."

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