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Kyle Whittingham Weekly Press Conference Recap

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Coach Kyle Whittingham’s opening remarks:

“A lot of positives coming out of the game on Saturday. Unfortunately the win didn’t happen. I thought our offense performed. I thought Tyler Huntley played his best game as a Ute, overall. When you talk about relative to the competition, I thought he was outstanding. Special teams made some impact plays and did some really good things there. Defense played really well for 58 minutes but you have to play the full 60. We had that lapse in the last two, two-and-a-half minutes of the game. Another tough defeat. It’s a tough place to play. I give them credit. They’re a tough football team. Their quarterback rose up and made the plays he needed to in the end. We had several chances to make a play in the second to last drive when we had a seven point lead. We had them wrapped up with a sack and he found a way to get rid of the ball for an incomplete pass. Those are plays you have to make. He didn’t make it in the end there. We move on. We’ve got Colorado this week. Both teams find themselves in very similar situations. They’re both five-and-six…” “They’re both fighting for a bowl game, obviously…”

Whittingham’s thoughts on the senior class:

“Fortunately just about every one of them has their degree, which is the main reason they come to the University of Utah…” “…They’ve made a huge impact in the University of Utah’s transition to the Pac - 12 during that transition time. That transition time is over now. We fell fully entrenched in the Pac - 12, but when they first got here as freshmen it was still new. I appreciate the efforts they made and the hard work and dedication they gave us for four, five years in some cases. I’m really proud of them and they’ve done a good job leading this football team this year. Although things didn’t turn out how we had hoped, they never let things go sideways on us as far as the internal functions of the team…” “…I’m very proud of them. I’m going to miss them all.”

Whittingham explains why he called a timeout with 23 seconds remaining with the Huskies at their own 30-yard line:

“We’d been aggressive the entire game…” “When they got the ball back there was 30 seconds, right around there left in the game. We had good field position. They were inside our 30. I was anxious to see how they came out. If they came out and took a knee there’s nothing we can do about it — we only had two timeouts so they could just flush the rest of the game and go into overtime. When they ran the ball, it was a signification to me that they were going to be aggressive, so I thought great, and I was betting on our defense to make a play. And they had to go 60-something yards. A 42-yard was the kickers max kick all year long so essentially they had to get to the 25 yard line. I figured that with the field position they had, I was betting on our defense making a play and our kicker can hit from 60. If we were able to get the ball back on a three and out. The ball was still in their court because after we called timeout after the first down they could have still taken a knee and killed it but they were aggressive as we hoped. We were hoping for an incomplete pass on the next down or an interception or something of that nature. And then we still had the one timeout. We couldn’t control the clock at that point unless they had an incomplete pass or something like that. That was the gamble — trying to win it in regulation. Just because you go into overtime doesn’t mean your chances are any better than in regulation. Like I said, we had good field position. I would have bet my house that they wouldn’t have gone the distance on our defense and get into field goal position, but they did. Credit to them. We weren’t able to make a play. It was a matter of field position, aggressiveness, betting on our defense to make a play, we have the superior kicker, and that’s what went into it. I would do it again, but knowing how it played out I wouldn’t because it didn’t work. But going into it without any knowledge of how it would play out, I would have chosen the aggressive path again. I have a lot of confidence in those guys…” “You can agree with it, disagree with it, that’s your choice.”

Whittingham reflecting back on the season and handling a new scheme, new players, etc. and if that had any effect on the season:

“We never make excuses. You either win or you lose. Nobody cares why. There’s nothing that we feel as if we completely missed the boat…” “There were circumstances that lead to not being able to get as many wins as you want but like I said nobody cares. It’s about winning and losing. You are who your record says you are…” “Being in the Pac -12 under the circumstances we are, it’s tough sledding.”

How Whittingham feels on the aggressiveness the team had against Washington:

“Intelligence and making sound decisions trump aggressiveness. But, you want to be aggressive when you think it’s in your best interest and you can make a positive effect or circumstances based on who you’re playing warrant that you need to be more aggressive. If you don’t get the surprise onside or you don’t get the fake punt then all of a sudden people say ‘you guys are idiots.’ Either way, you can’t please everybody. But I think our team was prepared for that game. They were excited. They had a great week of practice. We talked to special teams about being aggressive and having things up our sleeve that we wanted to pull out as soon as they got the opportunity, and they were excited about that. And offense, we got confidence in them. We went for 3 or 4 fourth downs and converted them all. I think it had a very positive effect in that game. It doesn’t always work in your favor, being aggressive, but in that game it did except for the end. And again, calling the timeout and being aggressive there. You can debate that either way. Maybe most people would have taken the safer route and let the time expire but that’s not what I was about in that game and in that situation.”

Is Whittingham getting more aggressive as a coach as time goes by?

“I think so. I don’t think there’s any question about that and I think the numbers will show that. If you look at the amount of fourth downs we went through in the first half of my career as opposed to the last half, I feel that we are getting more aggressive.”

Coach Whittingham’s thoughts on Colorado:

“They’ve still got some talented players. They’re not putting up the numbers they did last year. Last year they were exceptional but they took a big hit to graduation. A lot of the talented guys on defense left. But it’s still a very sound scheme, they’re still playing hard and they’re well coached. I’ve got a lot of respect for coach [Mike] MacIntyre and what they do over there. There’s a lot of similarities between us and them between last year and this year with kind of a reboot in a since. I hate that word. That’d not the right word. Just a lot of change.”

Has the earlier signing date changed recruiting?

“It has. We’ve had more in-season visits then we’ve had in years past. Not a ton more but the number has gone up. It’s becoming more prevalent that the mid-year enrollee has become more abundant. We have a big weekend for this weekend for example. We have six or eight official visits coming in this weekend, which is a lot for in-season. Short answer is yup, it’s had an impact and I think it will have more of an impact in the future.”

Whittingham’s thoughts on NFL bound seniors sitting out of bowl games:

“I’m old school. I would have never even considered that but times have changed. You have to respect the decision of the individual. It’s a case by case basis. If a guy feels strongly that it’s in his best interest not to, that’s what you have to go with. I’m not going to bad mouth him or ridicule him but my own personal opinion is that wouldn’t even be a debate in my mind. To tell your teammates ‘thanks, I’m out, see ya later, thanks but I’m not going to play with you one more game,’ that seems strange to me. But again, times have changed dramatically.”

Listen to Tyler Huntley