Lya Wodraska has an article up today discussing Whittingham's struggle to find his niche among coaches. It's a pretty good read and emphasizes the importance of this year and how it could be a pivotal season for his career.
Losing to BYU hurts immensely on one level, but losing to teams such as San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV in games many thought the Utes should have won hurts in a whole other way. Those were the losses that quarterback Brian Johnson was thinking of when he said the Utes have underachieved in recent seasons.
In that respect, Whittingham's guidance in 2008 might be better judged for how his team plays in would-be gimme games like Utah State, UNLV and San Diego State, not how it does against Michigan, Oregon State or BYU.
Losing a well-played game is acceptable, losing one because a team underachieved isn't.
"It's my main responsibility as a head football coach to make sure the team is ready to play each and every week," said Whittingham, who has taken the blame for the 27-0 loss at UNLV.
Can Whittingham get the job done? Those around him say he can and point to the way he has changed as a coach as evidence. He doesn't run the program like a dictatorship as he tended to do in the past, but does a better job of listening to his assistants and his players and considering their input.
This is a huge season for Whittingham and I think he knows this. If he can't get it done this year, then when? It's good he knows this and understands the importance of a conference championship, but who knows if it'll have any major impact on the way the season progresses.