Loss could bring out the best in the Utes

By By Liz Frome and By Liz Frome

By Liz Frome

All good things must come to an end.

Unfortunately, that tragic reality has managed to snatch up the Utes’ 16-game winning streak.

I understand, Ute nation. I was hoping for another undefeated, bowl-winning season for our Utes, too. We all wanted to bust into the BCS, again, and we’re all disappointed. But let’s step back and get some perspective on the whole thing before we toss this season out.

As head coach Kyle Whittingham has said, no loss is ever a good thing. But for the Utes, it’s definitely not the worst that could happen at this point in the season.

The Utes haven’t lost a game since 2007, which made last week’s downfall to Oregon sting a little more for us fans. We’re used to seeing them with their heads held high, not dangling two inches from the turf. We’re used to seeing proud smiles stretched across their faces, but last week they looked as though each and every one of their dogs had just died. Tears have been shed, profanities have been shouted and blame has been awarded.
But let’s not overreact just yet.

This loss, as disappointing as it might have been, does not signify a lack of talent, resilience, or effort on the part of the team or the coaching staff. It only means two things: They’re human again, and the pressure is off. The expectation of fans for the Utes to remain god-like has vanished, and there’s no more record to stress about. The loss might have been just the thing they needed to be able to calm down and perform better and more consistently.

As much as every fan might want it, no team can go undefeated every season. It’s part of losing big players and bringing on new ones, dealing with injuries and making adjustments on the coaching staff. The Utes are familiar with all of those this season and managed to extend their winning streak in the middle of all of it.

One of the biggest changes they’ve undergone is replacing their quarterback8212;an action that can drastically alter the success of a team.

Terrance Cain came into the program and instead of looking terrified and unprepared, he managed to lead the Utes in tacking on two more games to their winning streak. The guy is human, and we can definitely count on some mistakes throughout the season, but you can say the same for any collegiate or professional athlete. Just ask Tim Tebow or Tom Brady.

Cain’s still getting comfortable with the offense, and you’ve got to give the guy some credit. For the most part, he has stayed pretty composed for a juco transfer playing in front of 45,000 screaming fans with a stack of 300-pounders coming after him on every play.

Remember when Alex Smith left and Brian Johnson was basically our only option? That first season was rocky, at best, but the coaches stuck with him. Time, patience and a lot of game experience developed him into a quarterback who could lead his team to a perfect season.

Cain was obviously selected as the Utes’ starter by the coaches for a reason. He’s not going to get any better if he’s switched out now.

With Cain continuing to start and the younger part of the team settling more into the flow of the game and the season, the Utes will likely bounce back quickly from the loss. The older guys on the team haven’t tasted defeat in quite a while and will be eager to shake the bitter feeling Saturday when they host Louisville in the Homecoming game.

So don’t fear, Ute fans. This situation might just bring out the best the Utes have got.
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