Whittingham held his weekly press conference today. Not surprisingly, most of the focus was on Utah's loss to UCLA Saturday.
Utah's offense surprised me more than their defense. Whittingham seems to be concerned about the offensive production, let's hope he takes Ludwig aside and talks to him about the play calling. Outside of the rather vanilla plays, Utah failed to run the ball, even with the success of Mike Liti early on in the game.
I agree here. If there were any positives, it was Utah's ability to stop UCLA's running game. The Utes d-line looked sharp in that aspect, however failed to pressure Olson at all during the game. I'm hoping that UCLA had a solid offensive line and this is why Utah couldn't bust through to pressure Olson. If this is not the case, Utah might get lit up by even mediocre quarterbacks.
I'm hoping UCLA is a good team and that's why Utah struggled in this game. If the Bruins revert back to a 6-6 season, I don't see how the Utes can finish with more than 6 wins, let alone compete for a conference championship.
I'm hoping this is a fluke and Brian Hernandez has not been bit by the injury bug once again like he was last year. I think the loss of Tate won't really matter, since he looked rather mediocre against UCLA and made some inane plays during the game. Luckily the Utes aren't playing a D1-A team this week, so the loss of Voss and Hernandez shouldn't hurt too much.
Putting in Grady at that time might not have been the smartest move, however not putting him in when Ratliff struggled later in the second half was a worse move, I think. Utah was down only 14 points heading into the fourth quarter and definitely not out of the game. However Ratliff buckled and could not convert on key third downs. This killed any chance of Utah rallying to a victory.
Whittingham then talked about Northern Arizona.
As I said in my NAU preview, NAU is capable of stunning the Utes, especially if their offensive production sucks like it did against UCLA. I expect a win, but after last week, nothing would surprise me. I just hope the coaches don't overlook NAU and that the players don't get too emotionally spent after the UCLA loss.