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Q & A with Block U


We're now just lurking in the shadow of College Football 2007, and since the Beavers kick things off with Utah tomorrow night, I thought I'd take the opportunity to bring in Sean from Block U. After we exchanged interviews, I was trying to figure out what the name 'Block U' had to do with Utah. I was thinking that maybe their special teams are known for blocking a lot of kicks, (a la "Linebacker U" or "Running Back U") but then, I thought better of it. It turns out that it actually has to do with a Block "U" that is painted on Mount Van Cott. Apparently they're proud of their Block U up in Salt Lake; it's 100 feet tall, lights up for home games, and flashes after victories.

And now, Sean from Block U:

BuildingTheDam: Ray Stowers was announced as the starting running back the other day. The last time I checked, Matt Asiata was the heavy favorite. What's the story here? How did Ray win the job, and why do you still think that Asiata will still get more carries?

Sean, Block U: Stowers became the starter after Matt Asiata was injured early on in fall camp. The injury isn't serious, but caused him to miss most of practice and he hasn't seen any live reps because of it. I expect Asiata to get more carries because he is highly touted and probably the best back Utah has.

BTD: The Beavers are the favorites to win, but OSU has a lot of things to prove. How can Utah 'derail' the Beavers?

Block U: Utah can derail the Beavers by playing solid on offense and better than expected on defense. The offense should be fairly solid, but could also have some growing pains with Brian Johnson adjusting to the levels of live play. He hasn't played a down in a game since being injured in November of 2005 and that could be a big issue. If the Utes do overcome that issue and find a running game, they can be successful enough to put a scare into Oregon Staten and even win.

I would also like to see them put pressure on Sean Canfield early. He's not as experienced and pressure there could force him into mistakes, especially since it appears Sammie Stroughter will sit out.

BTD: How is Utah preparing for Oregon State's 2-QB setup?

Block U: I'm not sure how Utah is preparing for Oregon State's 2-QB setup, but I'm sure Whittingham will have the defense ready for whatever the Beavers throw at them. Since Canfield is starting and this news wasn't released until more recently, I'm guessing much of the game plan was built around having him under center, as opposed to Lyle Moevao.

BTD: With Brian Johnson back from his redshirt year, we expect him to be at 100%. Do you think he will have a standout year? Or do you think he will be less effective due to the injury?

Block U: I do believe he will have a standout year. Every report I've read indicates that Johnson grew a lot while sitting out the entire 2006 season. During that time, he spent each game on the sideline working with coaches, headset and all.

He had a great first year, finishing 11th in the nation in pass efficiency and 4th in total offense. I expect him to build on that and fix some of the flaws he had in 2005, especially when it came to fumbling while running the spread option. If he can cut down on the turnovers, Utah's offense should be pretty impressive.

BTD: Whats your prediction for the game?

Block U: I predict a good game, which will be fairly close. I don't know if Utah will win, but they can win. My heart says the Utes by 10, but my brain says -- especially after last year's loss to UCLA at the start of the season -- Utah will lose by 7. I'll compromise somewhat and say Oregon State 28, Utah 24.

Thanks, Sean.

--JB--