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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 need help at skill positions

Shortly after dissecting Utah's 49-37 loss to Washington State and admitting the Utes couldn't cover WSU's receivers in man, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham made the most obvious and revealing statement of the day.

The Utes have some ground to make up in recruiting perimeter players, he said.

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No kidding. Seeing the impact that tight end Jake Murphy had on the Utes' offense in the last two games has made that statement even more clear.

Murphy was better with one healthy hand than the rest of Utah's receivers, finishing with five catches for 102 yards, except for Dres Anderson who had five catches for 129 yards.

This was supposed to be a year when the Utes were deep at receiver too. Granted losing Kenneth Scott for the season hurt, but no one else has really stepped up.

Utah needs to bulk up its receiving corp. to be a decent team in the Pac-12. The days of relying on one big-time receiver or two are over for the Utes.

The Pac-12 might not be known as a defensive league, but teams have to have at least two or three go-to guys in the passing game to survive.

Defensively, the Utes have got to improve in the secondary. The Utes need guys who can not only cover, but turn their heads and make plays on the ball too. Course, after Saturday, many fans would probably be happy with defenders who can simply man up.

The Utes might have some young talent learning through some hard times now, but they need some immediate help next year. Whether the help comes from the high school ranks or the JC ranks it doesn't matter, the Utes just need some impact players.

Suffice it to say Utah's next recruiting class will be the most important of Whittingham's career. As he has always said, the lifeblood of a team is recruiting and right now Utah's past recruiting classes simply aren't living up to expectations when it comes to the skill positions.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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