Arizona Weary Of Utah Defense

Oct 12, 2018, 2:45 AM | Updated: 2:46 am
TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 01: Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Arizona Wildcats watches from the sidelin...
TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 01: Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Arizona Wildcats watches from the sidelines during the second half of the college football game against the Brigham Young Cougars at Arizona Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin feels he’ll have his hands full this week when the Wildcats take on the Utah Utes Friday night at Rice Eccles Stadium.

Admiration For The Utes

In his first year at Arizona, Sumlin is acclimating himself to Pac-12 football and admires the Utes, especially their defense.

“They’re the No. 1 defense in the league statistically. No. 1 run game defense, No. 1 red zone defense in the league. It’s the best defense in the league right now. They’ve got a lot of experience, a lot of size and a lot of athleticism. They play well together,” said Sumlin.

The success that Utah had last week at Stanford in a 40-21 Utes victory didn’t escape the Sumlin’s attention.

“They’re a talented football team that’s playing very, very well and particularly after last weekend,” said Sumlin.

Sumlin Has Another Star Pupil

Known for coaching Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, he’s guiding another young star in quarterback Khalil Tate. He broke out last season with some monster running games, but has been contained on the ground, either by the opponents or by Sumlin’s design. So far into the 2018 season he has 109 rushing yards with two touchdown scores.

That said, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham is preparing for a balanced attack from the Wildcats.

“They are doing a nice job. They are getting about 450 yards a week offensively, so they are very productive. Their quarterback is playing more from the pocket than he has in previous years, but he is still a huge threat to run the football. As the coaching changes take hold and get some traction throughout the season, I think you start to see more of what their true capabilities are,” said Whittingham, who will be going for his 200th career victory Friday night.

The contest the Utes and Wildcats will kick off Friday at 8 p.m. at Rice Eccles Stadium.  The game will be broadcast on ESPN.


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Arizona Weary Of Utah Defense