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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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Is Utah's defense ready for Keeton?

One good thing about Utah facing a quarterback like Utah State Chuckie Keeton in the first game of the year? We'll know right away if Utah's inexperience on the defensive side of the ball is going to equate with a lot of mistakes.

Keeton, a guy whose dual-threat capabilities are every defensive coordinator's nightmare, in the words of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, is going to view Utah's inexperienced secondary as a weak point he can exploit.

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To prevent such from happening, Whittingham said on Monday the Utes have been practicing a lot of scramble drills where the coverage must remain for six to eight seconds.

"We've done our best to duplicate what our chief strengths are so we'll have to see what happens," Whittingham said.

Being disciplined in a drill in practice is one thing, can Utah's defenders do it under fire? What may help the Utes is the maturity of the players.

Junior safety Eric Rowe, who has 23 starts to his name, is the only veteran player among the safeties and corners with experience.

But senior corner Keith McGill has been with the program two years and junior corner Wykie Freeman has been with the Utes for three seasons. Safeties Michael Walker and Tyron Morris-Edwards have been with the program for three seasons as well.

Have they absorbed enough to help some of the youngsters/newcomers such as redshirt freshman Justin Thomas, freshman Hipolito Corporan and junior college transfer Davion Orphey?

They'd better, otherwise it could be a long night for the Utes.

- Lya Wodraska



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