Utes looking to find their ?rhythm?

By Chris Kamrani, Asst. Sports Editor

All the great ones had rhythm.

Mozart, the 2004 Utes, Miles Davis–all had a consistent flow of success and showmanship.

The No. 14 Utes (7-0, 3-0) have some kinks to work out and need to obtain some rhythm offensively heading into Saturday’s game against visiting Colorado State.

“We’re always concerned to improve in all areas of the football team,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “It’s not like our offense has been not productive. What I think we’ve lacked offensively, we seldom get in that rhythm.”

It certainly seems like the issue on offense has been a broken record for the Utes and their fan base all season long.

Despite the qualms with the offense, the Utes are currently in the top four in every offensive category in the Mountain West Conference.

Utah is No. 4 in both passing (233.7 yards per game) and rushing (163.6 yards per game) offense. No. 3 in total offense (387.3 yards per game) and No. 2 in total scoring offense averaging 37.6 pointer per game8212;if this stat is to hold up through the end of the season, it would rank as the fourth-best scoring average by a Utah team since 1892.

“I think our offense is done a good job in a lot of areas,” Whittingham said. “We’re scoring. So there’s a lot of positives going on.”

The Utes are coming off a gusty 40-7 victory in Laramie, Wyo., where they only needed, and were only able to score two offensive touchdowns in the rout of the Cowboys.

“I’ve felt that way for the last little bit here,” quarterback Brian Johnson said regarding the necessary rhythm. “We gotta do something in order to get that rhythm and get guys to make plays, we gotta make plays.”

Johnson has not had the kind of year he, the coaching staff or the fans expect of him. He does have 1440 yards passing through seven games to coincide with 11 throwing touchdowns. He does have the second-highest quarterback rating of his career at 145.20, but has been noticeably uncomfortable at times hanging in the pocket, lead to 19 sacks on the season for a total of 125 yards, which ranks No. 106 in the country in sacks allowed.

“I feel like it’s getting close and it’s there,” Johnson said in regards to the offense. “But football is an 11-man game, you gotta have all 11 people on the same page.”

Despite the heavy winds at War Memorial Stadium on Oct. 11, Whittingham said that his biggest disappointment in the game was not the overall lack of offensive production, but rather the lack of intensity by the running game.

“We didn’t bring knock-off, off the line of scrimmage like we usually do,” Whittingham said. “Just overall, we gotta run the football better. We didn’t seem to be running as violently as we have in the past.”

The running back trio of Matt Asiata, Darrell Mack and Eddie Wide combined for 21 carries and 68 yards rushing. Change-up quarterback Corbin Louks went for 50 yards rushing on the day.

The apparent need for rhythm doesn’t just come from the quarterback or running game8212;the front five for the Utes, especially left guard Zane Beadles, are waiting for this potent offense to explode and open its wings.

“We never want to be satisfied with where we’re at,” Beadles said. “If you’re not improving every week, you’re getting worse. We have to force some action to get into a rhythm.”

With all the hoopla surrounding the offense and its struggles, it is one of the top five teams in the nation in managing the clock8212;a definite compliment any time you have a shutdown defense as Utah does this season.

(Time of possession) has been huge for us,” Whittingham said. “It’s a team stat, our defense is getting off the field quickly and our offense is hanging onto the ball. As a team we are doing a nice job controlling the clock.”

It’s smoke and mirrors when describing the Utah offense this season. It’s hard to reprimand a team that averages nearly 38 points per game, which is currently 18th best in the nation.

With five games to go, the Utes are looking to improve and keep a level head.

Johnson knows that his offense has the potential to kick it into completely another dimension, but as of now, that dimension remains a goal and not a reality.

“We just gotta keep playing,” Johnson said. “That’s the only way you can do it. You can sit here and talk about it all you want, but you gotta go out there and do it.”

Tyler Cobb

Corbin Louks lead the Utes in rushing with 50-yards.