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The Drive: Utah Football Episode One Review

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It was big news in the spring when the Pac-12 Networks announced that they were going to be covering Utah, along with Oregon State, with their documentary series The Drive. The Drive has been a very well done series for the last couple of seasons, and it will be a ton of fun to see behind the scenes of Utah football. Plus, it will be interesting to see how Oregon State transitions under a staff full of former Utes.

Coordinating producer of Pac-12 Network Mike Tolajian stated that the first episode used 50 hours of footage for each team to make the episode because it encompasses training camp and three games. He also said the average episode uses about 15-20 hours of footage from each team.

The Drive had it's debut episode Wednesday night on Pac-12 Networks, and it got off to a great start. The first half of the show covered fall camp, and specifically, how Utah's offense was struggling. Obviously, Coach Whittingham is candid when it comes to critiques of players and staff, it made it much more interesting for him to be super critical of the offense behind closed doors. Co-offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick discusses in the coaches meeting that the quarterback just wasn't good enough up to that point in fall camp, and you could see the frustration on his face.

Defensively, this episode shows the defensive leadership of the linebackers, specifically Jared Norris and Gionni Paul. The episode shows the defense coming off of a rough day during camp, and Coach Morgan Scalley challenges the unit, not that they struggled, that's going to happen from time to time, but it's how you react and respond.

The episode really kicks into high gear when they highlight the Michigan game. You get the typical 'rah rah' speeches, and the episode showed that, but the scene where Sharrieff Shah is giving the offensive line a pep talk is amazing. His, "Oh my! It won't happen without you!" speech to the crew will make anyone want to strap up and play.

A play that a lot of Utah fans will remember from the Michigan game, is the personal foul Gionni Paul picked up late in the game that extended Michigan's drive, and gave them a little life. After the game in the locker room may have been one of the best moments of the episode, where Paul apologizes to his teammates, and tells them he loves them. Of course, Coach Whitt accepts his senior captain's apology.

Utah fans will have interest in not only the Utes but also the Beavers since Oregon State head coach Gary Anderson, defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake, and defensive line coach Ilaisa Tuiaki all spent time coaching at Utah. The highlight of the Oregon State clips has to be Anderson yelling at his team to get candy bars.

It's a great episode, and this season will be a ton of fun to watch - especially if Utah is successful. Head over to Pac-12.com to check it out, if you missed it.