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Brad Rock: The onus isn’t on Shelley or Shyne to save the Utes

Utah Utes working again Armand Shyne (6) breaks away for a landing run, striking the Utes up 42-10 over the Arizona Wildcats after the PAT, throughout the recreation at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — Throughout October it gave the impression in spite of everything the Utah offense had discovered its method. It scored 40-plus issues in 4 consecutive video games and ruled opposing defenses, striking the Utes in place to win the Pac-12 South.

Now that two in their 3 largest offensive stars are most probably out for the season, they’ve one choice. The identical one they’ve been the use of since, oh, perpetually: be as impenetrable as the Walls of Constantinople on protection and hope for a few large performs on offense.

Otherwise, the Utes will finally end up the place they had been closing 12 months, in a bowl recreation expressly designed for groups that may’t surpass .500.

Thousand-yard rusher Zack Moss reportedly injured his knee in observe Wednesday, and is anticipated to omit the remainder of the season. In 5 days the Utes have misplaced their beginning quarterback and their most sensible working again. That leaves one standout offensive participant, receiver Britain Covey, who would most likely be indexed as backup quarterback to Jason Shelley, if he weren’t wanted so badly at wideout.

” The Utes are depleted, but not destitute. ”

Brad Rock

The method issues are shaping up, Covey may well be the most effective participant left on offense. He can cross, catch, run and go back. If Shelley is going down, the Utes may want Covey to do they all immediately.

Backup working again Armand Shyne is in truth higher than the starter on some groups. He has carried 37 occasions for 166 yards this season. Injuries price him all however 5 video games the closing two years. He was once main the group in dashing in 2016 ahead of his damage.

The Utes are depleted, however now not destitute.

It’s conceivable Shyne will shine. Last week he rushed for 13 yards on two carries in opposition to Arizona State. In that recreation, beginning quarterback Tyler Huntley broke his shoulder and can omit the remainder of the common season.

Moss has rushed for over 1,000 yards two instantly seasons, 128 of them in opposition to ASU this 12 months. Eddie Johnson, Devontae Booker and John White are 3 different Utes who had two 1,000-yard seasons. Moss surpassed 100 yards in six video games this 12 months.

It should be exasperating for him to lift for all the ones yards, however get felled in observe.

Kyle Whittingham has wired he has entire self assurance in Shelley. The redshirt freshman did have a impressive prep profession. But the onus of wearing Utah via video games with Oregon, Colorado and BYU shouldn’t be on Shelley’s shoulders.

It will have to be on the protection.

Shelley can be studying on the fly; the protection has been right here all alongside.

Utah has at all times been a defense-first group. Even in a season wherein the Utes had been in the Pac-12’s higher part offensively, the protection has been nationally ranked. But closing Saturday there was once no indication the place that unit went. The Utes gave up 536 yards and 38 issues.

The protection is straining simply when it wishes to be immovable.

Linebacker Chase Hansen mentioned, “We’ve got to come together. We can’t let this affect team morale, momentum and confidence. We have to understand that we are still a good football team. A really good football team and we’ve got to play like it. So we’ve got to come together and fix some things.”

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That in truth was once ahead of Moss was once injured. But it is now more true than ever.

It’s now not like Utah’s protection is incapable of salvaging the season. It’s nonetheless the country’s No. 1 red-zone protection and No. nine in dashing protection. The Utes will want it. This week’s opponent, Oregon, scored 41 issues in closing 12 months’s recreation.

Though media availability ends on Tuesday for Whittingham and his gamers, here’s what he’ll say when he does cope with the Moss damage: “Next man up.”

The method issues are going, he could not be blamed for announcing, “Pray for us.”

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