By Kevin Graham
Follow him on Twitter @KevinGrahamKFAN
Tempe, Ariz. Three thoughts on the Utah Utes 37-7 embarrassing loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils:
1. Outcoached, outplayed, outclassed, outprepared, outsped, outtackled, outmanned, outexecuted, outembarrased, any other “out” words we can make up? It was an out and out debacle. Utes coach Kyle Whittingham led his postgame press conference with, “We got whipped tonight.” And did they ever. This team wasn’t ready to play. Whittingham said they anticipated Arizona State’s speed but clearly they did not. What I think is most concerning is they don’t have the talent to keep up with the Sun Devils. Their offensive line reverted back to the huge question mark they’ve been since last spring. Their linebackers were lost and to make matters worse their secondary was out of sorts as well. As for ASU all they have ever needed was a coach that could take the athletes this team possesses and infuse just enough discipline to play sound football. Clearly Todd Graham is making this happen. And what this means for Utah could be trouble for years to come.
2. Where was the defense? Utes defensive tackle Dave Kruger said this was “not a coach Whittingham defense” that played Saturday night. He claimed they were trying to do too much and not playing disciplined football. Probably true but they were definitely exposed in this game. While Star Lotulelei had five tackles and one for a loss he was essentially a nonfactor. That’s because ASU attacked the edges and outside with their speed, swing passes and misdirection plays. They didn’t need to run inside the tackles. Whittingham said he couldn’t remember a worse game his defense has played. For his and the teams sake, he better hope it doesn’t happen again for a long time because without a consistent offense, quarterback, offensive line and run game it’s going to be a long season if the defense can’t carry them.
3. Welcome to year two of the Pac-12, Utah. If anything this game showed that the Utes are still a ways from being a complete “Pac-12” team. While they definitely have athletes the Utes still don’t have enough to fully be a factor in this conference. What is also concerning is that the other Pac-12 teams have improved while the Utes have seemed to regress. Even Whittingham admitted the Sun Devils were “markedly better” than a year ago. Despite suffering losses Saturday UCLA and Arizona have improved as well. This is troubling. And oh by the way–USC is next on the schedule. Maybe the Mountain West Conference doesn’t look so bad after all.