Today's Deseret News has a great article on Utah's goals for the 2006 season. And while there has been buzz about possibly running the table much like they did in 2004, Utah players and coaches are unified in one voice: Talking about an undefeated season is not allowed. Here's some interesting quotes from the article.
Those two goals of course are beating UCLA and winning the Mountain West Conference. Obviously Whittingham realizes Utah can't go undefeated unless they win their first game and win their conference.
Just what I want to hear, confident but not cocky. Weddle, who was on Utah's 12-0 team in 2004, knows exactly what it takes to go undefeated and he's not about to set that as a goal, but it seems he also won't limit Utah's success, either.
Whittingham gets it and so do the players. Going undefeated is more than about talk, it also takes action and a lot of luck, too. Utah was a great team in 2004, but one bad injury away from a possible 11-1 or 10-2 season. Utah probably won't go undefeated this season, but the coaches and players seem confident that they can position themselves for a strong run. They're saying all the right things and know that when it comes down to it, they'll let their game do the talking for them.
40 miles south or so, it's a different story. Down in Provo, at least 3 BYU players have already said they believe the Cougars can and will go 13-0 this season. Yes, on the heels of their fourth straight non-winning season (6-6), BYU is confident enough that they'll roll through their schedule and finish the season undefeated -- something the program has only done once in its history (1984).
The difference between Utah and BYU is amazing. Utah shows a reserved confidence, while BYU flutters around with dubious predictions, even with their past struggles. Now I don't know if this is a discipline matter or not, but Urban Meyer was adamant in 2004 that Utah not talk about going undefeated. In fact, it became predictable what Meyer would say every week to the media. "The best part about being 1-0 is a chance to go 2-0."
In fact, prior to the 2004 season, Meyer was -- a lot like Whittingham is currently -- tightlipped about Utah's chances of going undefeated. Of course as things stay the same up on the Hill, they also seem to stay the same down in Provo, too. In 2004 BYU tight end Daniel Coats told the Deseret News:
BYU failed to go all the way, as the Cougars finished with a 5-6 record and watched as their head coach was canned. Maybe someone should inform BYU that in order to go undefeated, you actually need to win some games first.