Utes say they'll stick with wildcat scheme

Utah football » Running backs, receivers will still take some snaps.
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Ever since running back Matt Asiata went down with his season-ending knee injury, the Utes' production in the wildcat formation was spotty and then downright ineffective against BYU.

Backup running back Shaky Smithson lost two yards on two carries and was 1-of-4 for three yards passing in the formation.

However, the Utes aren't thinking about shelving the wildcat because of the lack of productivity.

"It still has its place," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We didn't ever really have consistency with personnel with guys getting injured and we needed to develop continuity with it and we weren't able to do that this year, but it still has some positives to it."

Smithson, fellow running back Eddie Wide and receiver DeVonte Christopher have all had snaps in the formation.

Offensive coordinator Dave Schramm said he still feels the formation is effective, it simply wasn't executed well against BYU.

"We just had some things that weren't good," he said.

Beadles an All-American

Utah offensive tackle Zane Beadles was selected Saturday as a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America.

Beadles is just the 14th first-team All-American in Utah history and only the fourth offensive lineman. Carlton Walker (1984), Jordan Gross (2002) and Chris Kemoeatu (2004) were the other offensive linemen to earn the honors.

All aboard

The Utes weren't able to finalize their travel plans until Friday because they've had trouble finding a charter company that had planes available.

They finally settled with two companies, Sun Country Airlines and Virgin Airlines, that will shuttle Utah's traveling party of about 250 people to San Diego and back.

The Utes leave Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. and will practice Saturday afternoon at San Diego State.

Watching from afar

Although he is immersed in Utah's bowl preparations, Whittingham has followed the developments at Notre Dame with interest. The Utes play at Notre Dame on Nov. 13, 2010.

Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly will take over as Irish head coach after Charlie Weis was fired.

"I watched his offense at Cincinnati because I really liked it and now that's what we know we'll face at Notre Dame," Whittingham said. "It's in the back of your mind as you are seeing all these things transpire, 'How does that affect us?' It's natural."

Color coordinated

Utah's scout team is wearing gold jerseys to simulate Cal's colors. Whittingham said the team has collected colors of all the teams they play and just happened to have gold, possibly from when they played Michigan.

"We had them in storage and broke them out," he said.

Beadles didn't care what color the scout team wore, he was finally just happy to go against the scouts as the Utes began installing their game plan Friday for Cal.

"It gets to kind of feel like spring ball out here when you don't have an opponent to prepare for," he said of the earlier preparations before the bowl matchup was announced. "Guys get heated and tired of hitting each other. It's nice to focus and know who we are playing."


Poinsettia Bowl

No. 23 Utah vs. Cal

Dec. 23, 6 p.m., in San Diego