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Devin Kaufusi: ‘We Beat Ourselves’ Against Florida

Sep 7, 2022, 12:16 PM
Kyle-Whittingham-Utah-Utes-Florida-Gators...
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham grimaces as he and his players walk off the field after Utah and Florida played in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. Florida won 29-26. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s season-opening loss to Florida was a real gut punch.

The Utes had chances to win and in some cases were the better team Saturday night at The Swamp.

There is obviously a lot of season left to play and one game doesn’t make or break a season. The Utes can still win the Pac-12 title, and if things break the right way the path to the College Football Playoff is still there.

Utah defensive tackle Devin Kaufusi joined Unrivaled for his weekly conversation. He took the loss to heart and said they lost the game because of themselves, not necessarily what Florida did against them.

“Every loss hurts, especially one like that hurts a lot. A play or two here the game could have been totally different,” Kaufusi said. Defensively we did not have our best showing… so we have our frustrations and disappointments and got chewed out for it.

“The light side of it is that we kept it a close game even though we weren’t at our best. It is encouraging that there is some optimism knowing we have our best football ahead of us. We had a great opportunity to go down there and get a win. All that can be said defensively… we beat ourselves with execution and poor technique.”

 

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Now is the time to move on to the next game which is the home opener against Southern Utah. Kaufusi knows this team can be better.

‘No Need To Panic’

Starting off 0-1 is a tough pill to swallow, especially with so much hype for the Utes going into this 2022 season. Looking back at last year when Utah started 1-2 with losses to BYU and San Diego State, the season seemed like a lost cause. We all know how that turned out with the Utes going 8-1 in conference play to win the Pac-12 to earn a bid to the Rose Bowl.

Losing to Florida put a damper on the national media shine that Utah was getting heading into the opener. The goals for this team are still intact – including the College Football Playoff – by trying to repeat as conference champions.

The good news is that the early season loss will be a distant memory and in some twisted way could be beneficial if Florida turns out to be at least a nine-win team. Going to the College Football Playoff was likely seen as a stretch goal for this Ute team. Being from the Pac-12 and not a traditional blueblood will go against this team and others of the like.

Kaufusi and the Ute coaching staff are keeping things in perspective as this is just one game and there is no reason to pull the ripcord.

“We felt we left some chips on the table,” Kaufusi said. “As a team, we said there is no need to hit the panic button. A lot of teams will do that after a tough loss that we felt if we played better the game could have been ours. As frustrating as it is we all know we have to move on and we can’t let a team beat you twice. Don’t let it linger and flush it out of your system.  Take it to heart and it will sting like an open wound but in life and as a competitor our mental toughness and mental fortitude we just have to let it go.”

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