September 13, 2010

Utah vs. UNLV Game Thoughts

This game, unlike the last one against Pitt, is a game you expect the Utes to win  (bad memories of 2007 flashing back here . . . ).

The game showed us a little bit more about this Utah team . . . strengths and weaknesses.

The Good:

  • Utah's O and D Lines continue to impress.  I didn't think the offensive line was as dominant as I expected after watching Wisconsin just man-handle UNLV, but they still moved the chains.  Utah avoided disasterous news this week as it looks like Zane Taylor will not have a season ending knee injury.  This unit did not allow Terrance Cain to be sacked.  Unless I'm mistaken, Utah hasn't given up a sack yet this season.
  • More on the lines . . . The defensive lines are amazing against the run.  On goal line situations and 3rd and short, I'll put some money on this unit.  They are nails.  Less impressive is the pass rush.  Despite controlling the LOS, the D Line is not getting much pressure on the opposing QB's.
  • Shaky Smithson Redemption.  After almost costing us the PITT game by himself, Smithson totally redeemed himself by earning MWC special teams player of the week.  He also had a nifty punt return for a TD that's as good as you'll ever see. (link)

The Bad:
  • Punting Unit.  2 weeks, 2 blocked kicks. This will cost Utah a game if it's not fixed . . . pronto.  If you get a kick blocked, you statistically lose 80% of the time.   Sellwood, you don't have 10 minutes back there to orient the ball to your liking before punting it.  YOU WILL GET BLOCKED.  Snapper . . . . more velocity.  Everybody else . . . block.
  • Calling Devonte Christopher?  1 week after hauling in 9 for 105 and a TD, including MWC offensive player of the week, Devonte apparently was sleeping somewhere near the water cooler for this game.
  • 3rd down defense.  UNLV was converting a very high percentage of their 3rd down conversions. This was untypical for a Utah defense and I expect to see some adjustments for New Terrible Mexico.

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