Learning from last year’s mistakes

Last season’s 28-26 loss against Texas A&M for the U football team was mainly due to an absolutely horrendous first half, defensively and offensively

The Aggies lived off the big play and it worked for them in an amazing first half, where they outscored the Utes 21-0.

The first breakaway play for the Aggies was on their second drive, when quarterback Reggie McNeal handed the ball off to wide receiver Terrence Murphy, who was in motion as he was given the ball.

Murphy took the ball 80 yards to give the Aggies the lead, which would be one they would never relinquish.

After a Bo Nagahi fumble, the Aggies went back to work on their third drive, as Murphy caught a 50-yard pass from McNeal, which led to their second touchdown of the game.

Another fumble by Steve Savoy in Ute territory led to another touchdown, which gave the Aggies a huge 21-0 lead at halftime.

The horrific first half is something the Utes are looking to avoid and the only way to not have the same problems is by identifying what happened in order to create solutions.

Senior safety Morgan Scalley felt it stemmed from being rattled, which led to many other issues.

“We weren’t prepared to deal with that and we had so many mistakes in the first half,” Scalley said. “We have watched the film and we know we can’t give up those kinds of plays early in the game.”

The Ute defense will have to deal with the same offensive corps players, as McNeal and Murphy will be returning.

Along with the two game-breaking players, tailback Courtney Lewis is back. In last year’s contests, Lewis had 16 rushes for 100 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown to give the Aggies their final touchdown of the game.

The big plays killed the Utes’ momentum, but the running game allowed them to stay in the game until the closing moments.

Former Ute running back Brandon Warfield had a career game, as he rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Utes back into the game.

This year, the Utes do not have Warfield, but they have incredible depth at running back. With Marty Johnson, Quinton Ganther and Mike Liti looking ready for the game, U football coach Urban Meyer has not named a starter and will do that right before the game.

The primary rumor surrounding the running back situation is for Ganther to start the game and for Johnson to take the bulk of the carries.

Then one question comes in-where does Mike Liti fit in?

Liti was projected to be the starter at the end of spring ball, but now everything is up in the air. He may start, or he could be the backup.

The protection for Smith could be better this year, since Chris Kemoeatu will actually play against the Aggies this season. Paris Warren, who was the No. 1 receiver last year, was suspended against the Aggies last season, but will get his chance against Texas A&M tonight.

“We have everyone and our offense is looking really good right now,” Savoy said.

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