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Utes' bye comes at good time

Urban Meyer dismisses the relevance of his past success following bye weeks. He's won four consecutive as a coach, including two last season at Utah.

"I think it's coincidence. I think it all depends on who you are playing and the preparation of your team," Meyer said before the 11th-ranked Utes' only bye of the season. They return to action Oct. 16 against North Carolina. "I'm not into the streaks. It's all if we prepare next week."

Before giving his team a couple of days off for fall break, Meyer praised his team for their attitude and hard work in four practices earlier in the week.

"I told them 'Act like a top 15 team,' " said Meyer. "Because that's what they are."

Preparations for what the Utes hope will result in a 10th consecutive victory kick into high gear Sunday with a team meeting. Practices resume Monday.

Though defensive coordinator Kyle Whittingham admits it can be difficult to slow things down when a team is playing well and has momentum on its side, Utah's bye week is welcome after physical games against Air Force and New Mexico.

"I think it comes at a good time. We're a little bit beat up as far as bumps and bruises, nothing major," said Whittingham. "I think we'll use it to our advantage and get our guys fresh. It's kind of a natural break from the first half of the season. I think it's a positive for us right now."

Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford agrees. The timing, he said, is good for the Utes.

"I feel like we kind of needed to get rested up. We've been going at it pretty hard," said Sanford. "The last game (New Mexico) being an away game on a Friday night, that was a hard week both on players and the coaches."

A little break, he continued, could produce big results. Sanford is confident the team has the maturity to crank things back up upon their return.

It's an expectation.

"You never turn it all the way off. You just have to turn it down for about five days," said Whittingham. "Get fresh, don't bang and beat them up, then turn it back up on Monday."


Bye coincidence?

In his three full seasons as head coach, Urban Meyer has an impressive record in games coming off a bye week:

Year School Opponent Result

2001 Bowling Green vs. Temple W, 42-23

2001 Bowling Green vs. Miami (OH) L, 24-21

2002 Bowling Green vs. Missouri W, 51-28

2002 Bowling Green vs. Ohio W, 72-21

2003 Utah vs. Colorado State W, 28-21

2003 Utah vs. Wyoming W, 47-17


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com