It’s not an easy task to go into Palo Alto and beat a tough, well coached Stanford team, but that is what Utah needs to do if they’re going to get back into the win column. Here’s what I think Utah needs to do to get the win Saturday night.
Don’t beat yourself
This has been an issue for the Utes much of this season, especially the past two games. Whether it’s been bad turnovers, play calling, execution, bad position to allow an official to make a bad call or penalties, the Utes have done themselves no favors. Playing against a team like Stanford, you can’t allow them to stay on the field longer than they should, and you can’t give them bonus possessions, because they are unlikely to return the favor. If Utah plays clean, they’ll have a great chance.
Get production from the wide receivers not named Covey
I know there is wide receiving talent on this roster, but they need to show up. Covey has carried the group, and Huntley has been hit or miss at times, but they need to be there to make plays on Saturday night. I expect the box to be packed to stop Zack Moss and Huntley in the run game, so the guys on the outside need to make them pay. There will be opportunities for Utah to make plays down field, but they need to capitalize on those chances.
Huntley needs to be sharp
Tyler has been inconsistent this year, and he has looked like he has lost some confidence. We started to see some of that open up last week when the coaches let him off the leash a bit to run. Going forward, I think for Huntley to be most effective, they need to let him run and be himself. That engages him into the game and plays open up. To the point above, for the wideouts to be productive, Huntley needs to be decisive in the pocket and make the plays that are there. He has to make quick decisions, not hold onto the ball. He has to be settled in the pocket, but make wise decisions when it breaks down. He just needs to get back to playing the way he did for much of last year... and that may mean opening him up to more shots. Obviously, I don’t mean don’t let him play to get hurt, but it feels like he’s been holding back, and he just needs to let it rip.
Hopefully Utah can replicate what they did last time they were in Palo Alto, and get the win, because they could quickly course correct this season.