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Utah football: RB James Poole says he can deliver for Utes

Published September 3, 2013 11:29 pm

Utah football • Team looks to improve on 3.4-yard average.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If the Utah Utes need more production at running back, then James "Bubba" Poole says he is ready to deliver.

The sophomore who rushed 12 times for 47 yards against Utah State is listed as a co-starter along with Kelvin York this week and is expected to be the starter if York, who didn't play in the second half against the Aggies, doesn't go.

No problem — he can handle the demands, he said.

"That was my first college game and I was just trying to get in my rhythm," he said. "It took me a couple series to get used to the speed of the actual game and I had to take some hits, then I was ready to go."

The Utes averaged just 3.4 yards per carry against the Aggies, a number neither Poole nor Utah coach Kyle Whittingham considers good enough.

"We want to push for five yards per carry at least," Poole said. "We have to improve 3.4 is under our standard of what we want."

But it wasn't just the total yards that were an issue; Karl Williams' inability to score a touchdown on three tries when the Utes had first-and-goal at the Aggies' 4-yard line also stood out.

"We are too good of an offense to let that happen," Poole said. "In that case you have to get the ball in the end zone."

On the board

Just to make sure his team doesn't take Weber State lightly, Whittingham put together a list of the upsets created by FCS teams last week and showed it to the team on Monday.

"Hopefully they got the message," he said. "Through the assessment of yesterday's practice, I think we did. They were working hard and had an excellent practice."

Blechen update

Whittingham said it will be at least three to four weeks before the Utes decide whether to redshirt senior linebacker Brian Blechen, who had knee surgery to help the tendinitis that has hindered his abilities this fall.

His absence is forcing the Utes to use defensive end Trevor Reilly more at linebacker than they had planned.

How fast Blechen recovers and how well the other linebackers play will all factor into the decision as to what to do with Blechen.