College football • Tight end is leading Utes with 22 catches.
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Utah tight end Jake Murphy said he wasn't going to let the Utes forget about him in the spread offense. So far, he has been true to his word.
Murphy leads the Utes with 22 catches for 239 yards and is tied with Kenneth Scott with three touchdowns.
He had four catches for 42 yards in the loss at Oregon State.
A year ago, Murphy started strong, then struggled after he returned from a knee injury suffered against BYU.
He finished the year with only five catches for 64 yards.
"It has just slowly developed where they are getting the tight ends down the field and I felt with my receiving background I could make some plays," Murphy said. "The coaches noticed that, and they are utilizing us more."
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the plan is to get Murphy even more involved.
"The quarterback feels comfortable going to him," he said. "We'll make some adjustments to the schemes and utilize him more in the package to get him the ball more often. He is a reliable target."
After watching kicker Coleman Petersen miss a 43-yard attempt against Oregon State, Whittingham has decided anything between the 25- and 36-yard line might be fourth-down territory for the Utes in the future.
Petersen is 3-for-5 on kicks between 40 and 49 yards this season.
Place-kicking has been an area of frustration for Whittingham, who said he has given junior Nick Marsh, who handles the kickoff duties, plenty of chances to take the job.
However, Petersen consistently beats Marsh during the practice drills.
"At some point during the last five games, we are going to need to call upon our kickers," he said. "We've been working hard every day on it."
Whittingham said on Wednesday there was no change in the depth chart with Petersen still beating out Marsh in drills.
"It's pretty much the same as it has been," he said.
Back to basics
Frustrated at their inability to complete tackles, the Utes have returned to basics this week.
"Our technique has gotten sloppy," defensive lineman Joe Kruger said. "We've been working on the basic stuff, working with our hands and moves. We've got to improve."