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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' lack of intensity troubling

So Travis Wilson may or may not play against USC, depending on how he looks in practice this week, particularly in Tuesday's session since Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said ideally he'll settle on a starter for USC Tuesday.

What to make of the situation and how much could it affect the Utes as they get ready for USC?

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Obviously, the Utes would prefer to have Wilson 100 percent healthy as they prepare for a crucial road game.

But more than Wilson, one has to wonder about the team's attitude. The players who represented the team at Monday's press conference backed up their coach's assessment of the Arizona loss by admitting they weren't ready to take the field Saturday.

They were prepared technically speaking, but not mentally. One has to wonder what that is all about.

Even on Monday Whittingham was complimenting his team for its resiliency, noting the Utes fought back to take the lead after getting down early.

But certainly the Utes knew that Arizona was a huge, huge opportunity for them to get a much needed win and they should have been giving 100 percent from the start. That they didn't come out with the intensity they should have is a troubling sign and part of a pattern with similar games against ASU last year and Cal in 2011.

By now the Utes should know they can't afford such half-hearted starts in the Pac-12 and expect to win games.

Can they turn things around this Saturday? Utah defender Trevor Reilly said it was going to take a good lifting session on Monday and a week of clean practice to put the Arizona loss behind them and get focused on USC.

If they don't do that, it may not matter which quarterback takes the field on Saturday. If the Utes aren't mentally in the game, they could be done in early, again.

- 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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