"Just briefly on last week's game, after watching the film, it was pretty much what we thought after the game. We just didn't have our usual physicality up front. That's what was lacking. We have to get that corrected. I mentioned that we weren't explosive enough offensively. I know we got those chunk yards, but we weren't explosive enough scoring points. Those were the two main issues. We couldn't finish drives and didn't play with physicality. Our trademark is to be physical.
"Rivalry week is back on. It's been a couple years since we played in the regular season. It's at our place so obviously, we're excited about that. It should be a great crowd and atmosphere. Our guys will be ready. There's no doubt about that. Their guys will be ready. We're sure of that as well. It should make for a great game like it traditionally has been."
Utah got the first shut out since 2012 in their 24-0 win over Southern Utah.
"We played solid in all three position groups: front, secondary and linebacker. [Southern Utah] did a really nice job of trying to get the ball out of the quarterback's hand quickly, maybe too quickly at times, and that led to some inefficiencies in their throw game. Our front played solid, not as dominant as we can be, but it was a good start to the season. We were pleased with the inexperienced linebackers. Cody [Barton] and Sunia [Tauteoli], who were No. 1 and No. 2 in tackling on the team. The secondary did a nice job. We had very few issues on the back end. It was a combination of all three position groups just playing solid."
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake is a former Utah coach and was one of Whittingham’s first assistant coaches.
"I consider [Sitake] a close friend. There are few people in this profession who are considered close friends, he is one of them. I don't think it has any bearing on the game itself. He's a guy who was with me when I first got the job, he was one of my first hires, and he did a great job for us while he was here. I'm sure he's going to do a great job down there. He's off to a good start.
"In the offseason we had a golf tournament and one or two other things together where we crossed paths and we went golfing a couple times together this summer. Like I said, he's a close friend. We talked a little bit of ball, but not a whole lot. We talked more about family and what's going on in our lives. [Sitake] being the head coach of a rival school doesn't impact my relationship with him at all. I still have the utmost respect for him. Our friendship is solid and I expect that to continue.
"[Recruiting against Sitake] is just like recruiting against anyone else. You recruit against the university more so than any specific coach. We crossed paths on a few kids in state, but other than that, there's not a lot of crossing paths in recruiting kids, particularly out of state. It's more Pac-12 schools that we come across in southern California in our recruiting footprint. They're more of a national recruiting base."
Polynesian players have played a very important role for the Utah football team.
"It started with [former Utah head] Coach Mac [Ron McBride]. He's the one who opened up the pipeline to Utah football, I guess you could say. We've been perpetuating it ever since. It's been about 23 years and Coach Mac made a decision back then that he was going to make it a priority to recruit the Polynesian athlete and that's been a huge part of the success here at Utah."
BYU kicked off their season with an 18-16 win against Arizona.
"Offensively, they were very balanced. No. 21 [running back Jamaal Williams] is a very good player. He was the work horse. He carried the ball nearly 30 times. Taysom [Hill] did a nice job running the offense. They had over 200 yards rushing and over 200 yards throwing. To me, the key to having an effective offense is having balance. The offensive line played pretty well. Defensively, they got after it and played hard. They controlled the ball offensively and didn't give Arizona a lot of snaps. Arizona only had about 45-50 snaps, that's not their formula. That's not how Arizona wins. They did a nice job of keeping the Arizona offense on the sidelines.
"The offense [under first-year coordinator Ty Detmer] was very similar to what I anticipated. [Detmer] did a nice job with his play calling. I'm surely glad Taysom [Hill] is back, even though they have another outstanding quarterback as well. They did a very nice job of utilizing personnel groups and keeping Arizona off balance. They have a very high-percentage offense, particularly in the throw game. They run a lot of high-percentage stuff, which is great."
In Utah-BYU games, turnovers have played a huge role.
"They're big in every game. There's no more important stat than the turnover margin. I'm sure it will be a big part of this game, just like it has been the last several games in the rivalry and really every week. There's nothing special about that stat in just this game, but we've had a pretty good run in winning the turnover margin. As far as the importance of it, it's every week."
Even though Utah played BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl last season, they are completely different this year because of the coaching changes.
"It's a whole different ball game. The schemes are dramatically different on both sides of the ball. Obviously, we know we'll see things that we didn't see on the film against Arizona. Everyone is going to tailor their game plan to the upcoming opponent. We know what teams like to do against us. They play a lot of man coverage so therefore there are a lot of 'man beaters' in the throw game. We're fairly certain there will be a fair amount of new stuff and change from what they did against Arizona, who uses a primary 3-3 front and is a whole different animal on defense from what we are."
Whittingham was asked if he felt the rivalry has changed since Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011.
"As far as the feel for me personally, in conference or out of conference, there really is no difference. It's the rivalry game. It doesn't have conference implications obviously, but it's every bit as intense. Maybe there has been a little bit of a change in the venom in the game, but that's more of a fan question than for me. Taking those two years off probably had more of an impact than not being in the same conference."
The offensive line did not quite play up to their potential against Southern Utah.
"I have no concerns because I know that they're a prideful group. They'll rebound and they'll play well. I have a lot of confidence in those guys. They're good players. My guess is that they're going to prepare very well this week and be ready to play on Saturday. "
BYU running back Jamaal Williams played well to start the season against Arizona.
"He's a tough, physical runner. He has size, speed and runs with a great deal of violence. He runs like a running back is supposed to run. He had a very good game, obviously, against Arizona with a bunch of carries and he was the focal point of the offense."
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill is a talented athlete and can challenge a defense with his legs as a dual-threat quarterback.
"We see quite a few of those guys throughout the course of the year. The dual-threat quarterback pretty much is what football is today with a few exceptions. We just have to be assignment sound. It's almost like playing Air Force, in a respect. When you're playing the read option, your defensive ends have to be very disciplined and take care of their assignments. [Hill] didn't run as much in this past game as he had in years past. I don't know if that's by design or just how the plan was set last week, but we know his capabilities. He's a very potent runner."
Utah wide receivers coach Guy Holliday coached at BYU previously and can provide some unique insight on his former players.
"He has some insight that we obviously don't have after being around [BYU] for the last few years. He knows things like what kind of practice players they are, what kind of mentality they have or what may bother them or not bother them, as far as press technique or playing off. "
Playing BYU in the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl only helped Utah with personnel, but the schemes will be totally different with the new coaches.
"No benefits other than knowledge of personnel and matchups. Those are really the only things that are applicable because the schemes are so different."
Joe Williams is still listed as the starter at running back despite fumbling against Southern Utah. Other players will also see reps at running back against BYU.
"We'll give the other guys turns. Like I said, we weren't physical enough up front running the football [against Southern Utah]. We didn't run with enough reckless abandon. We have to run like we can't be tackled, not run like we're waiting to be tackled."
Utah jumped to a 35-0 first quarter against BYU in the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl.
"I've never been involved in a start like that either way. What was going through my mind was, 'Are you kidding me?'" Seven or eight minutes into the game, it was 35-0. That's almost unheard of. Almost."
Whittingham was asked what the most memorable game was during his playing career at BYU. He was also asked if he would rather play or coach.
"I would say the SMU game [in the 1980 Holiday Bowl], as far as my college career. That would be the most memorable game.
"I would rather play than coach in the rivalry game, and that's every week. I can't do that anymore."