This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Washington State coach Paul Wulff had a little trouble with some of the pronunciations, but he didn't have any difficulty labeling the Utah defense that his Cougars will meet on Saturday as one of the best he has played."This is, in terms of raw talent, I think the best defense we've seen, along with Cal," Wulff said. "They have five fifth-year seniors who start. Three juniors. And they're just a very veteran, savvy football team, and very, very talented."The Utes have allowed just 19.2 points per game fewer than any other team in the Pac-12 Conference including just 35 in the last three games, all victories. They rank third by allowing 335.7 yards per game, behind Cal and Stanford.Understandably, Wulff had a spot of trouble pronouncing the name of Utah's Star Lotulelei. But he praised him as "phenomenal" and "the best defensive tackle we've seen.But the Utes "have good players all across the board," Wulff said.One of the players "who sticks out a lot" is safety Brian Blechen, an "awfully good player" whose name Wulff also spoke hesitantly, though ultimately correctly whom quarterback Connor Halliday also mentioned in an interview session with reporters.The Utes "bring a lot of pressure," Halliday said. "They're really, really physical up front and they have a great safety, No. 4 [Blechen], he'll hit you. We have to make sure our protection is right, and we should be good with that."
Michael C. Lewis