Embracing the grind: 10 things the Utes must do to be successful this time around in the Pac-12 (10 items)
The 2013 Utah football team is off to a strong start.
The Utes took care of business during their non-conference schedule, finishing 3-0 against in-state opponents Utah State, Weber State and BYU. However, despite its non-conference successes, Utah’s overtime loss to Oregon State in its first conference game leaves lingering doubts about how well the Utes will fare as they turn their focus to the remaining Pac-12 schedule.
Today we break down 10 things that Utah football must do as it heads into the meat of the schedule.
Dan Sorensen is the editor in chief of UteZone.com, part of the Rivals.com network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and Basketball Writers Association of America. Dan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 of 10. 1 — Force turnovers
If Utah is to make any kind of move in the Pac-12 this season, the Utes need to hang on to interceptions, force fumbles and make big plays on the defensive side of the ball.
2 of 10. 2 — Secondary growth
However, Utah needs the learning curve to accelerate if it is to stop top-flight offenses such as UCLA. Safeties Eric Rowe and Michael Walker have both played adequately but need to step up and force turnovers if the Utes are to become a top defensive unit in the Pac-12.
3 of 10. 3 — Unleash Bubba Poole
Poole is only averaging 18.25 touches per game, which given his big play ability may be a little low. Utah’s offense has been solid thus far this season, but could be better if it keeps feeding Poole the ball.
4 of 10. 4 — Protect the football
If the Utes can consistently win the turnover battle, they have the offensive firepower to put themselves in a position to win every game remaining on the schedule. However, any game that Utah loses the turnover battle will be especially difficult to win.
5 of 10. 5 — Protect Travis Wilson
Wilson has been especially effective when he has time to make decisions, so it will be incumbent on the offensive line to give him time to operate.