Sharrieff Shah Wants Improvement On Utah Defense
SALT LAKE CITY- The most disappointing aspect of Utah’s performance against Florida on Saturday was the defense. Usually a cornerstone of a Kyle Whittingham coached team, the defense came up short too often when they were in position to change the game. While most of the problems are easily fixed, cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah wants to see the unit improve with the notes they gathered about themselves in Gainesville.
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Improving Utah’s Defense
It wasn’t so much that the Utes were out of position, or biting off on the wrong thing, as it was not finishing the play. Whittingham noted in his Monday press conference that the defense missed 27 tackles on Saturday. That’s almost three times more than what they typically average in a game (8 or 9).
Utah’s defense was able on more than one occasion to force the Gators into third and long situations, it was just getting Florida off the field in that situation that proved hard. Shah says the team can at least take from that information that they are getting guys in the right position to make a play, they just need to start making them when it counts.
“I guess it reaffirms a few things,” Shah said. “One, at least you know that you are putting your boys in the right position. Right? You’re being put in those critical plays that require somebody to just stand up and make a play. So that’s good. Now, we just want somebody to make the play. We don’t want guys to uniformly wilt in those moments. That’s probably equally frustrating to be in those particular conjunctures time and time again and not have enough people stand up and make plays.”
Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday
The Utah media learned yesterday that Tuesday is the Utes’ toughest practice of the week typically. (Short weeks are a different story.) It was also revealed by both Shah and his cornerback Clark Phillips III that this particular Tuesday was a real doozy as the team really went at it to fix things that got exposed against Florida. According to Shah, that hard work is the way they will start to see the results they want on Saturdays.
“Work, work,” Shah said. “Just come back and do what we did today- have a hard practice. Tackle better. Practice live tackling, have better man coverage- work on the things we saw as glaring negatives- especially from my room. I thought we didn’t fit properly on blocks on the edge. We allowed runs that should have been minimized to have huge gains cuz receivers were blocking us and we should have gotten off an shed it. You come in and you correct those things and get ready for the next opponent because the next opponent could care less how close you were to Florida. They are ready to come in here and try to kick you in the face.”
Shah says Bloody Tuesday is particularly lively after a loss as the team works hard to right the wrongs that cost them victory.
“The vibe is much more of a concerted effort for physicality,” Shah said. “People are chippy. It’s bad attitudes and I love it. I love it. I love the violence, I love people on edge- the extra level of physicality because that is what was missing on Saturday. That’s good. You want these practices to begin to mimic some of the things that you hope will show up on the Saturday that’s coming.”
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