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Q+A with Block U

Yes, we got a Q+A here!  Some hot Q+A action!  We've got all the information you'd ever want to know about Utah, between this Q+A and the one we are doing with MountainWestConnection.  This Q+A is with Utah-specific SBN blog, Block U.

The guys over at Block U do a great job following Utes athletics.  They have had a run of success this decade that surpasses Cal's over the same period.  2 BCS Bowls and a dominating victory over Alabama last year.  Now, we get em!  Ai!  Should be a great game as all of the Pac10 Bowls seem to be this year.  Finally, some solid tie ins.  Thank you, MWC, for becoming really good.  Now, please lose to us!  After the jump, Block U answers some of our questions about who to watch out for on O and D and who they want to punch in the face!  GO BEARS!


1. Most Cal fans know nothing about Utah.  Please tell us about your most talented player on offense and defense.

The Utes' offense is still fairly young. While you might not know much about Utah, I'm sure you've heard their starting quarterback right now is a true freshman. In fact, he didn't start the for a good portion of the season and though he has potential, it's hard to call him the best offensive threat.
If I had to, I'd go with Eddie Wide, Utah's running back. He cracked 1,000 yards on the season and though that isn't entirely impressive alone, he did it in fewer than 12 games. Utah lost its starting running back, Matt Asiata, four weeks into the season against Louisville. Wide, who's been the starter since week five, has turned out to be a superb weapon for an offense that has struggled throughout the season.
It's harder to peg the Utes' best player on the defensive end because I think they all have their strengths. If I had to choose, it'd be either Stevenson Sylvester or Robert Johnson. Both had a huge impact in Utah's win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl earlier this year and they were also named to the 2009 Mountain West's first team defensive squad.
Of course, the Utes' defense is far better than their offense. Which means there are multiple players worthy of being mentioned.
2. Wassup with your QB situation?  At the start of the season Terrance Cain was your QB until about four games ago.  Now it looks like Jordan Wynn is your starting QB.  What happened? 

Terrance Cain won the job in fall camp because he looked like the best option. However, as the season progressed, the offense stagnated and it didn't appear there was any growth coming from under center.
Though Utah was still winning, the victories were by a narrower margin than they should have been. After an ugly start against Wyoming, Kyle Whittingham decided to pull Cain and insert Jordan Wynn, who looked a bit more crisp and had a bit more success moving the offense down the field.
Much of Cain's issues came from his inability to really throw the ball deep. He was money on slant and short passes, however, once the defense took them away - the offense essentially was shut down and he either was forced to throw the ball away or scramble for only a minimal gain.
Wynn does appear to throw the ball better down field. This has opened up the offense. Of course, in his two toughest games, he's 0-2 and the last, BYU, wasn't entirely pretty on the offensive end. TCU, a lopsided loss two weeks prior, actually was more about defensive issues than anything else and Wynn looked pretty damn good in that game.
But that's all to be expected because he is a freshman quarterback. They seem to progress, regress and stagnate week to week.
Does that continue into the bowl game?
3. So Cal has this one runningback named Jahvid Best.  Heard of him?  Does he scare you?  Does it make you feel better that it is still unknown as to whether he's going to play in the bowl game or not? 

He scared me until I read he wasn't playing. But I hear his backup ain't too bad, either. So, I don't know what really to expect.
4. What's your base defense?  Do you play mostly man or zone defense or do you guys mix it up? 

The Utes have run a 4-3 defense since the early 90s. It's the baby of Whittingham, as he inherited from his father - who was Utah's DC until 1994.
Utah plays man specifically with their cornerbacks, leaving each corner on an island and hoping they own up to their responsibility of stopping the opposing team from catching the ball.
This is hit-and-miss depending, obviously, on how good the corners are. This season, Utah's secondary has been pretty stout, yet they are vulnerable to pass-happy teams with a constant deep-ball threat. I'm not sure that fits Cal's offensive strategy.
5. Okay, we know you guys must hate BYU.  Please dish some dirt.  Tell us some raunchy BYU cougar jokes or some stories about how BYU fans threw beer one of your player's mother.

I actually never knew Rice-Eccles Stadium put in a beer fountain right out there in the visitors section. I guess it's pretty good at drowning the family members of Cougar players in delicious alcohol.
The funny thing is that Utahns are thrifty people. I find it hard to believe any Ute fan would waste their beer on Max Hall's family.
6. Where would you rather spend the rest of your life, Guantanamo Bay or Provo? 

Guantanamo Bay, no doubt. Free healthcare, probably good food and I'm a security wall away from smoking a few Cuban cigars on the beach next to Castro and his cabal. Perfect.
7. Do you guys miss Ludwig?  Are you going to send him a Christmas card?

Who knows. Utah played Oregon only a week prior to Cal, so it isn't like they hit them at different times. It was a weird game where Utah was actually down big and rallied in the second half to get within striking distance. In fact, they probably should have won and would have had it not been for a lame-ass punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter. In the end, the Ducks could not pass the ball at all and the only reason their offense moved the ball was because Jeremiah Masoli ran roughshod over the Utes' defense. Other than that, I'm as stumped as you are.
8. Agree or disagree?  Utah only lost to Oregon by 7 points.  Cal lost to Oregon by 39 points.  The laws of transitivity say that, well, Cal is fucked. You lost to Oregon by a much less embarrassing amount than we lost to Oregon.  What was the secret there?

I don't know if they'll win. But...10. 31-21.
9. Complete this sentence: I want to punch ________ in the face.

Joe Lieberman. Oh shit, you meant sports related? Okay...Bronco Mendenhall & Max Hall.