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Utes are short 2 seconds

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Apparently, it's only a matter of time before the Utes firmly grasp Urban Meyer's spread offense.

Two seconds, to be exact.

"We say we're a six-second team, but didn't feel like we played like a six-second team. We played for four," Meyer said after reviewing film of Utah's 40-20 win over Utah State. "That's why Brandon (Warfield) had some nice holes. But if you play for six, those are touchdowns. And we didn't do that."

Of particular concern, he added, was poor blocking by some of the receivers.

"That's not Utah football," Meyer said. "That needs to improve."

So, too, do a few other things before the Utes visit Texas A&M Saturday (6 p.m., KJZZ, Ch. 14).

"I think it's the whole thing," said receivers coach Billy Gonzales. "We want to finish. We want to go to that whistle."

On average that's six seconds per play — culminating with body-on-body contact when it's over. It's a philosophy, Gonzales notes, that is repeatedly preached in the spread offense. Proper execution requires that everyone do it. In the USU game, there were plays when all but one or two Utes finished satisfactorily.

"You've got to block," Gonzales said. "We're going to be the best blocking unit in America. We're going to be six-second players."

Wide receiver Paris Warren admits there's plenty of room for improvement.

"There were times we needed to pick it up," Warren said. "We can't take plays off."

The receivers aren't the only ones. Right guard Thomas Herrion acknowledges the offensive line is also aware of the time commitment.

"We've got to finish and that's what we're learning to do," Herrion said. "When we saw the film we were like 'If I just blocked that dude for two more seconds Brandon would have had a touchdown.' He would broke for more yards."

Herrion and his linemates were disappointed Warfield finished with 173 yards rushing in the opener. They had a goal to get him 200.

"His success is our success," Herrion said before discussing an improvement plan. "We're learning to get more knockdowns because I feel the more people on the ground, the less people there is to block."

Shortcomings aside, Meyer was impressed with how the Utes performed in his Utah debut. He noted seeing a bunch of discouraged faces in the locker room after the game but is confident they can correct any mistakes made.

"There was a lot of pressure on a lot of people," Meyer said. "And I'm proud of the way our guys performed."

Especially, the need-to-improve-their-blocking receivers. Meyer said they proved to be Division I-A quality, something he wasn't sure about in the spring.

"I think guys have stepped up. I also think they did a good job working over the summer," Gonzales said. "But it's a long road, a long season."

And it's also a race against time.

Two seconds, to be precise.


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com