Offense Is Rolling for Football Team

In its last two games, the Utah football team rolled up 465 yards and 37 points against New Mexico, and 509 yards and 52 points versus South Florida.

And while neither the Lobos nor the Bulls are world-class opponents, the combined 974 yards and 89 points the Utes accumulated are not all due to defenses more porous than your average teenager’s face.

After struggling all of the 2000 season and being slow to grasp the nuances of new coordinator Craig Ver Steeg’s quick-read offense, the Utes finally look comfortable trotting the skill players out onto the field.

“We feel so much more confident with the offense every week,” said quarterback Lance Rice following the USF game. “We’re really starting to develop our timing, getting into the intricacies of the offense.”

Speaking of timing, that has perhaps been the U’s biggest strength in starting out 4-1 this year. In each of the team’s five games, Utah has won the battle for time of possession. In three of those contests, the Utes have held the ball for at least 35 minutes of play.

Nowhere was maintaining control of possession more apparent than in the first quarter of the South Florida game, when the Utes had the pigskin for more than 13 out of 15 minutes and wound up with a 21-0 lead.

And it’s not just the offensive players who are noticing the difference. Utah’s defenders, who so often last year were the only factor keeping the team in any of its games, are plenty happy to see the offense rolling.

Safety Dave Revill was outright ecstatic following the U’s decimation of the Bulls.

“The offense played really well,” Revill said. “It was good to congratulate them every time they came back to the sideline after a score. Fifty-two [points] is amazing.”

Defense

Though the U defense wound up surrendering 403 yards and 21 points to the Bulls, most of those came when the game was out of reach, as Revill’s 47-yard return of an interception put the U ahead 52 7 early in the fourth quarter.

Though Utah is just fourth in the MWC in total defense after leading in that category a year ago, the team has been bolstered by several strong performance.

Junior linebacker Sheldon Deckart, who starts at the rover position, leads the team with 40 total tackles and 4 pass breakups. He also has 5 tackles for loss, including 3 sacks.

Meanwhile, starting safeties Antwoine Sanders and Arnold Parker continue to form one of the league’s top tandems. Sanders, the free safety, is second on the team with 31 tackles, while also boasting a team-best 3 interceptions. Parker, who alternates between strong safety and nickel, has 29 total tackles, 3 for loss.

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