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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 still like their man coverage

The Utes have been mixing in some zone coverage in addition to playing man lately so I asked safeties coach Morgan Scalley if the Utes might be leaning toward playing more zone while the defense gets its issues worked out, particularly with USC coming to town.

The look on his face said it all. Suffice it to say the former safety is proud of Utah's tradition of being a man coverage team.

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"Man is who we are," he said. "Man was great for us last year, something like only a 30 percent completion rate when we were in it and its tough on QBs. If they are completing the long ball like ASU did with good percentage and accuracy, you may have to do some things but plays are going to happen, but if we are getting 30 percent completion rate, that is good for us."

Rather than playing more zone, Scalley said the secondary just needed to work on its fundamentals to correct the breakdowns it had against ASU.

Complicating matters against ASU was the absence of safety Eric Rowe, who was sidelined for a second straight game with a hamstring injury. The fact that the ASU game was Brian Blechen's first game back didn't help Utah's coverage either. The Utes hope to have Rowe back in the lineup for Thursday's game against USC and Blechen is feeling more up to speed with a game behind him now, making Scalley more confident in the lineup.

"We just need to do a better job watching film, coaching fundamentals and technique," he said. "We have the athletes and athleticism to play (man) so if we are making mistakes, that is on us as coaches. We need to do a better job coaching up and teaching technique."

- Lya Wodraska



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