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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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Utes were prepared, but still surprised by ASU

The players who attended Monday's press conference still looked a little wrecked from Saturday's loss. They talked a good game, about getting back into the swing of things and putting the loss behind them as they get ready for USC, but their demeanors were definitely different than they have been in the past.

Feeling is they are finding out just how difficult this Pac-12 schedule is going to be for them.

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"We were prepared but guys just weren't expecting them to come out like that," defensive lineman Nate Fakahafua admitted. "We have to go back to the drawing board and do what we need to do to be prepared for USC and not make the same mistakes again."

Looking the most dejected was running back John White, who said his mistakes were the reasons the Utes lost.

"I've got to be smarter and get these guys going," he said. "Me to put the ball on the floor two times, that's not a good running back. I should not fumble at all and get yards and stuff like that. That is where it started."

Like Fakahafua, White said the Utes weren't surprised by anything ASU threw at them, just at how quickly the game got away from them.

"We watched film on them all week and new what they had and what was coming," he said.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who said his team "was taken to the woodshed," said blown coverages were the Utes' biggest downfall.

To that end, the Utes have moved senior Reggie Topps, who is also the starting nickel, ahead of Moe Lee at corner. The Utes replaced Lee with Wykie Freeman after Lee made some early mistakes, but Freeman later left with a leg injury.

Whittingham said the corner position might not be the only change the Utes make before USC.

"We have to re-think everything we are doing and make sure we have the best players on the field at each position. Some players will step up and we will see what happens in practice this week."

Several players said after the game they didn't trust each other enough, but Whittingham said he didn't think the issues on the team had to do with any chemistry breakdowns. He thought Utah's defense has played well until Saturday, even though it had some similar breakdowns against Utah State.

"It was one game," he said. "We've played good defense. But that was the biggest disappointment, the letdown on defense and blown assignments and not doing what we were supposed to do."

Whittingham called backup running back Kelvin York a "bright spot," and said the Utes were probably too patient with the run game. "In hindsight we should have been willing to throw more," he said.

The Utes are off until Thursday when they start preparing for USC.

"They have speed and athleticism across the board," he said. "There is no weakness."

- Lya Wodraska

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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