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As for the immediate future, the Utes must improve enough to reach their goal of bowl eligibility.
The Utes believe Wilson will improve as his injured right hand heals but they still must find some more offensive weapons and some spark in the run game.
Grading the Utes
Offense — C- » If we were analyzing the Utes two weeks ago, they might have gotten an A, but the losses of the tight ends, a slip in the run game and inconsistencies at receiver, not to mention all the turnovers, have left the Ute ranked ninth in the league in total offense (418.3) and eighth in scoring (31.1).
Defense — B » The Utes rank just ninth in total defense, giving up 393.4 yards, and seventh in scoring defense, allowing 25.8 points, but the defensive unit has made obvious progress through the season. Creating more takeaways is still on the want list.
Special Teams — B+ » Kicker Andy Phillips is 13 of 16 in field goals and 6 of 8 from 40 yards out to give the Utes some stability at the position. Tom Hackett leads the league in punts, averaging 43.1 yards. The Utes’ weaknesses are kickoffs, with Phillips getting only nine touchbacks out of 39 kicks, and the return game, which is missing a threat like it had last year in Reggie Dunn.
Coaching — B » Utah’s coaches crafted some great game plans to score wins over BYU and Stanford, but the Utes suffered a setback by not being ready for Arizona. The coaches’ biggest challenges are ahead, as they must find a way to make Utah’s offense a threat once again.
There is also hope that Tonga will be back on the field soon too after healing from his knee injury.
Until then the depth issues are why the Utes are falling back on a familiar refrain as the season comes to a close — they have a great defense and they are going to lean on it.
"There are a lot of positives on the defense," Whittingham said.
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