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No need for U. to fuss in The Muss

Pardon us if we don't get the shakes, Coach. Forgive us for not having queasy stomachs, either. If you get the feeling we're snoring away at 6 a.m., rather than up breaking down game film, you'll have to understand.

We — the viewing public — aren't the ones worrying about the Ute opponents.

You are.

We're trying to be nervous, but you're making it difficult.

How are we supposed to be worried when you do THIS?

Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Utes smothered North Carolina. This is how close it was: People were actually watching the video screen through most of the game — eating contest, kiss-your-partner gimmicks and all the rest.

When the video screen gets interesting, you know the outcome is clear.

That, however, doesn't seem to keep Urban Meyer from being a coach, which is to say a Nervous Purvis, or maybe an Upset Urban.

Never mind the Utes were up 30-10 at halftime, or that after erasing a 7-0 deficit the outcome was never in doubt. This was the Utes' game from the start. They ran up nearly 400 yards before the break. On the first series of the second half, they scored again. They stopped the Tar Heels on four straight plays at the one. They held on a two-point conversion.

North Carolina could no more side-track the Utes' run for a BCS bowl than pilot a spaceship.

Tell me again, what was Meyer worried about?

Coaches, of course, are worrywarts by nature. Ask how practice went and they'll wonder if you're stealing plays. Mention an opponent — any opponent — and they'll act as though they were facing the Spanish Armada.

Don't these guys ever get tired of stewing?

Six games into the season, the Utes are still undefeated. In fact, nobody's come especially close. But what will Meyer be saying tomorrow at practice? He'll be saying look out for UNLV, it's a dangerous team. He'll be saying his team has to get ready because UNLV played both Tennessee and Wisconsin (both losses) and beat BYU, which is by-the-way a fine team, too, blah, blah, blah.

All within his rights, you understand.

It's his job.

That's what happens when a coach has a good team. He finds danger in every shadow. Before playing Texas A&M, Meyer warned that the same Aggies who edged the Utes last year had improved.

"If they come out and smack us early," he said, "I don't know if we're good enough to catch up."

We'll never know. The Utes were up 27-0 before you could say "Gig 'em, Aggies!"

Before playing Utah State, Meyer talked about "great respect for their program" and "we're going to prepare for a great game." Turned out it was only great if you enjoy human sacrifice. The Utes bolted to a 41-0 lead before sending in the scrubs.

Before the Arizona game, Meyer said, "With any PAC-10 team, I worry about their athleticism." He may as well have been worrying about falling space debris. The Utes scored on their first three possessions, en route to a 23-6 win.

Before the Air Force game, Meyer said he was concerned about Falcon freshman quarterback Shaun Carney, and warned once conference play was in effect, "You're going to see a whole different energy level."

In a sense, that happened. Utah fell behind 14-0. But it then scored 35 unanswered, going on to win 49-35.

Before playing New Mexico he said, "Our defense is built around stopping the run, so this is going to be a great challenge for us." Maybe not. The Utes held the Lobos to 157 total yards and no offensive touchdowns, winning 28-7.

And before Saturday's game, he fretted that after a bye week it was dangerous to play a non-league game from a great conference. Then his team broke up North Carolina with a lethal combination of both passing and running.

Which got me wondering if my mom was correct when she said worrying never accomplishes everything. I'm not sure about that. If the world's coaches are right, this might be a better motto: Anything worth doing is worth doing well; anything worth doing well is worth worrying about.

Either way, go ahead and stick with what's working, Coach.

You do the fussing.


E-mail: rock@desnews.com