UTAH UTES

Utah Football Is On A Really Consistent Path Offensively

Nov 15, 2021, 2:07 PM

TJ Pledger - Utah Utes vs. Arizona Wildcats...

Running back TJ Pledger #5 of the Utah Utes navigates through heavy traffic during the fourth quarter of the NCAAF game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Tucson, Arizona. The Utes defeated the Wildcats 38-29. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football is experiencing something that has been rare under head coach Kyle Whittingham and that is consistent play from the offense.

What’s even more unusual is that the struggles from Utah this season has been from the defense and special teams. The defense isn’t bad, it’s just not on the level of the offense right now which is to be expected with the amount of newcomers and freshmen on that side of the ball.

Special teams is what has been very unusual to see having struggles at this point in the season.

“Another solid performance on offense,” said Whittingham at his weekly Monday press conference. “Thought we played really well on offense. Nearly 470 yards total, zero turnovers, 38 points. We’re really on a consistent path right now offensively, which has been really good. That’s obviously been the positive part of the last seven games.”

Consistent Path On Offense

Not counting the 17 points scored in the BYU game and 10 points in the first half of the San Diego State game, Utah’s offense has been consistent in getting points on the board.

“The offense has gotten better on third downs as well during the course of the year and really the thing that has been a huge plus is the offensive red zone production that just seems to be getting better and better,” mentioned Whittingham. “That really was the difference in the game Saturday is Arizona’s one for four in the red zone. We were five out of six, if you do the math, that’s the difference.”

Since Rising took over as the starting quarterback, Utah has at least 24 points in every game. They have dropped at least 34 points in the last six games, including three 40+ point games and one 50-point game.

How The Defense Has Improved

Although the defense has given up more yards and points than a typical Utah defense gives up, they are improving, particularly on third down.

“I would say the development of our freshmen, I think they’re getting better each week,” stated Whittingham. “You saw Cole Bishop play a great game last week, Van Fillinger seems to play well every week, Junior Tafuna is playing well. So I think the primary reason for that is we’re starting to grow up at a lot of the positions and get better and more consistent play.”

The 2021 edition of the Utah defense is doing just enough to help the team win games. Other than the Oregon State game, the defense hasn’t done anything to cost the team chances to win. That’s important at this point in the season and promising for the future.

Struggles On Special Teams

For the second time this season, Utah had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. The first one came against Oregon State. Kyle Whittingham is heavily involved in special teams, particularly with the punt team. To see that aspect of special teams struggling is very strange.

“Special teams had another huge mistake in the punt protection,” said Whittingham. “Fortunately didn’t cost us the game. But you think we’d have that solved by now but apparently we didn’t. So back to the drawing board with that. I got to coach it better and we got to find a way to protect our punter.”

Utah will host No. 3 Oregon on Saturday, November 20 at 5:30 p.m. MT on ABC.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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