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Utah football: Utes' defensive effort still a sore spot

Published November 20, 2012 7:55 pm

College football • Whittingham calls performance against Arizona "a debacle."
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Utah's defense had one of its worst showings against Arizona, allowing the Wildcats to rush for 320 yards.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was still upset over the performance on Tuesday, but blamed the coaches' schemes more than the players' efforts.

He called the performance a "debacle," and said he can't remember a time when the Utes gave up so many yards to a team that wasn't an option team.

What bugged Whittingham was that most of the yards came on the edges.

"They didn't get anything inside where Star [Lotulelei] roams," he said. "It was not a great job by us as coaches scheming for them. They did a lot more damage on the edge than we thought they could do."

Utah's defense has had its share of breakdowns this year, and Whittingham acknowledged there was a "learning curve," with the linebackers due to youth and inconsistent lineups.

"We do have a good group of linebackers," he said. "Hopefully with more starting under their belt, they've had more opportunity to learn and develop."

Things could be looking up, though. Colorado averages just 110 yards a game on the ground, giving the Buffaloes one of the worst rushing offenses in the country.

Freshman running back Christian Powell, who has 691 rushing yards this year, needs 139 yards to tied the record for most yards by a freshman, set in 1991 by Lamont Warren.

New commitment

Chase Dominguez, a snapper at Orange Lutheran in Orange, Calif., committed to the Utes on Tuesday.

Dominguez had offers from UCLA, Washington State and Oregon, according to his private snapping coach, Chris Rubio.

"I have him ranked as the No. 4 guy in the country, so they are getting a good one," he said. "He is very smooth and is a nice all-around kid."

Colorado newbies

Colorado has had 21 players make their first career starts this year, which is the fourth-most in the nation behind Hawaii (29), Air Force (24) and Temple (22).

Colorado coach Jon Embree said the youthfulness does have its benefits.

"They're excited to play because everything is new for them," he said. "A lot are playing Utah for the first time, so it doesn't get old for them. That is the advantage of having a young team."