Bleeding Red: Time for Utes to regroup after ASU fiasco

The devil’s in the details is what they always say
Well the Sun Devils detailed the Utes last Saturday
This bye week the Utes must work on both sides of the ball
Or starting with the Trojans it will be a long fall

COMMENTARY – I can’t remember the last time I saw a Utah defense play so poorly over the course of a game.  While it should come as no great surprise to anyone who is paying attention that the Utes are struggling on offense, the one constant that the Utes could always rely upon was their steadfast defense.

I know there were some personnel issues with the defense against Arizona State with free safety Eric Rowe and defensive end Joe Kruger out with injuries.  Nevertheless, injuries are inevitable and the lack of depth could be one of the biggest factors separating Utah from the other Pac-12 teams right now.

We are also seeing the growing pains that Brian Johnson is going through as the youngest offensive coordinator in the FBS. BYU went through similar growing pains during Brandon Doman’s first year at the helm of the Cougar offense. The irony is that Doman was reluctant to run even when the Cougars running game was effective, but Johnson insists on running even when the Utes running game is ineffective.

Against Arizona State, Jon Hays completed two-thirds of his passes, threw for a touchdown, averaged more than 10 yards per completion, and had an efficiency rating of over 140. However, Hays only attempted 15 total passes, in comparison to 27 attempts against BYU and 26 attempts in only three quarters against Utah State. Hays also threw a pick against the Sun Devils, but then again, Utah fumbled twice running the ball and that didn’t seem to deter the Utes from continuing to attempt to run.

I think Brian Johnson will eventually figure it out and will be a fine offensive coordinator in the long run. I just hope he figures it out sooner rather than later.

I must admit, I was pleased with the Pac-12 Network’s broadcast of the game. I was wondering if the Pac-12 Network’s first season would be reminiscent of the amateurish broadcasts by The Mountain I had to suffer through in order to watch the Utes play in years past.  Instead, I think the Pac-12 Network is doing a commendable job in its inaugural year. In fact, the Pac-12 Network broadcast was head and shoulders over the Mickey Mouse production put out by ESPN 2 last week for the Holy War.

Speaking of last week’s broadcast, my good friend Phil Miller swears that when he watched the replay of the game, immediately after the blocked field goal there were BYU players on the field while the ball was still live in addition to the host of red from the opposite sideline. I am not aware of this being a penalty of degree, with a few BYU players outweighed by a sea of red. But if both teams were on the field prematurely, the game should have been over without a second field goal try. I’m just glad that gaffe didn’t end up costing the Utes the game. Somewhere Ryan Kaneshiro must have been smiling as he watched the second field goal attempt bang harmlessly off of the upright.

This week’s bye comes at a very opportune time for the struggling Utes as they now have nearly two weeks in-between games before hosting USC in a Thursday night game on Oct. 4. Of course, USC also has a bye this week as well, so Utah doesn’t have a big comparative advantage. Be that is it may, Utah needs to catch its breath and regroup before facing USC.

Without a Ute game to dominate my attention this week, I’m hoping I can spare some time to try and salvage some usable remnants from my shambles of a fantasy football team.

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