Coaches have made right calls

By By Liz Frome

By Liz Frome

There’s been some debate among Ute fans this season as to whether Utah is calling plays that are beneficial to its personnel. During a few games, I’ve even found myself wondering the same thing. But then, as quickly as the next play is over, I’ve forgotten all about it.

In the wonderful world of football, fans are always going to question coaching decisions or play calls if a loss is suffered. And that’s especially true when the loss is tallied up on the record of a team such as Utah, which has accumulated more than a season’s worth of straight wins on more than one occasion. Even if the game doesn’t end in defeat, there are always some raised eyebrows in games that are closer than they should have been.

In Monday’s press conference, head football coach Kyle Whittingham said the Utes’ scheme is all about playing to their strengths. He said the coaching staff wants to make sure players are used properly and that the play calling is tailored for specific personnel.

It’s safe to say that Whittingham and his coaching staff have done just that.

Now, more than halfway through the season, Utah is clutching a 6-1 record and is still in the fight for a Mountain West Conference championship at 3-0.

Saturday against Air Force, the Utes planned for a full 60 minutes of physical football and got exactly that, and more. Whittingham said games against Air Force always come down to the last series or last possession, and again, he was right on point. In an overtime battle with one of the most aggressive and disciplined defenses in the conference, Utah came away with a 23-16 win.

In the games against UNLV and Colorado State, the Utes marched into away stadiums and claimed their first two MWC games. In Colorado, Utah was saved by its defense late in the game, and in Las Vegas, the offense capitalized.

Against Louisville at home, after running back Matt Asiata went down, Utah again adjusted and took the game 30-14.

The season’s first three games were clearly not as solid, but the fact remains that two of those three ended in wins for the Utes.

You don’t lose just once in seven games when you’re consistently calling the wrong plays8212;especially when you’ve got new, young guys with less experience filling huge offensive roles.

A lot of the mistakes that have been made on the field have come from athletes getting to know more about their own strengths and those of their teammates8212;not bad play calls. Offensive coordinator Dave Schramm has done a good job adjusting his calls when they’re not executed correctly.

Junior quarterback Terrance Cain has done well managing the challenges that face a junior college transfer in trying to lead the BCS-busting team to another successful season. The accuracy hasn’t always been there on the long ball, but Schramm and company have done the job of coordinators and coaches and adjusted.

The system isn’t perfect, but that’s true of any team, football or otherwise. At 6-1 after losing as many athletes as they did last season and successfully accommodating seemingly endless injuries this season, there’s not a whole lot of room for complaint. An MWC title is still possible, the Utes are bowl-eligible and could even qualify for a BCS game. They’re undefeated at home and in the conference, and they fight back from deficits and big plays like you’d expect from one of the nation’s true top 25.

All that’s left to do: Keep on keepin’ on.

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