SALT LAKE CITY — After giving up six sacks in Saturday’s 17-6 win at Northern Illinois, the Utah Utes have an obvious problem up front. The biggest may be getting things fixed before 10th-ranked Washington rolls into town this weekend.
Senior left tackle Jackson Barton is confident a solution will be found.
“I think our attitudes are good and we know what we need to do. We know what we need to work on,” he said. “We know what we need to fix and at the end of the week we’ve got to get a win against the Huskies.”
Barton acknowledged that giving up six sacks was frustrating and it’s never something you want to do. However, he reasoned it’s better to do so early in the year than late. If nothing else, it’s something to learn from.
“It’s always interesting to watch yourself when you’re not doing as good as you expect yourself to do," Barton said of the film study. “It was like frustrating at times, for a lot of us, but I think at the end of the day the most important thing is we came out with the win.”
Another big thing, he said, is things can easily be fixed, and that’s all it comes down to.
“Broken? No, just some miscommunication here and there. But other than that, just a missed assignment here and there,” said Barton, who said some mistakes are to be expected in the second game of the season. “As long as we can just fix what’s coming into this big week, I imagine we’ll be fine.”
Offensive coordinator Troy Taylor said that the six sacks at Northern Illinois weren't all on the O-line. He said that quarterback Tyler Huntley came off his progression and should have gotten rid of the ball a couple times. At the end of the half, he added, there were sacks when they hoped to throw the ball deep.
“We’ve got to protect better. But that’s not just, again, O-line that’s giving up sacks,” Taylor said. “It’s a play caller, it’s the quarterback, it’s the O-line, it’s the running backs, it’s the receivers getting open.
“So we took a little step back there,” Taylor said. “But let’s step forward this week.”
COMPLIMENTING COVEY: As was the case in remarks about Utah linebacker Chase Hansen, Washington coach Chris Petersen was also quite complimentary of wide receiver Britain Covey.
“He is really, really good. He’s fast. I mean, really, really explosive — quick, really good punt returner. I had forgot about him. I remember him going on his mission, and I was so glad. Maybe he cut his mission in half, because he’s back here too soon for my liking, for sure,” Petersen said at his weekly press conference. “He’s a playmaker. He is a playmaker. A lot of respect for him. He’s a young player, too. He played one year, I think, and then went on his mission. Now he’s back, and he looks like he’s picked up where he left off. He’s hard to tackle, really hard to tackle. Smart player.”
EXTRA POINTS: Utah is tied for the Pac-12 lead in red zone offense (100 percent) and is No. 1 in red zone defense (66.7 percent). … The Utes have their only bye of the season next week. … Hill Air Force Base will send jets for a flyover Saturday. A moment of silence is planned for POW/MIA recognition prior to the national anthem. … The ESPN broadcast crew for the game includes Steve Levy, Brian Greise and Todd McShay.
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No. 10 Washington (1-1) at Utah (2-0)
Saturday, 8 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 700AM