Head coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the media on Monday for his weekly press conference. He recapped Friday’s win over Arizona, addressed team injuries and looked ahead to the game against Stanford on October 7th.
“I’m proud of our guys. It was a hard fought victory on Friday night down in Tucson. The last couple times we went down there we didn’t fare so well. It was good to be able to get a victory. It wasn’t perfect – it never is. The guys showed a lot of fight and overcame a lot of adversity and found a way to get it done. Defensively we did a decent job against the run – not great. We held them to about two-thirds of what they usually get. We were hoping to hold them to about half – we figured that was the winning formula. It was good to get a score on defense. We had five takeaways and a score. Offensively we did some good things. We had one turnover on offense, one fumble early but then we settled down and took care of the ball the rest of the way. Two touchdowns., one to open each half, so that’s a positive. The negative is that’s the only touchdowns we scored offensively so we need to get some more production there. Overall, it was a good win. Special teams had an impact as well. Matt Gay continues to be perfect. Boobie Hobbs gave us another big punt return. Mitch [Whishnowsky] was a weapon in the punt game again. It was a victory for our special teams. No game this week. Some guys got pretty beat up in the game. This will be a good time to have the bye week and get healed up.”
The big question everyone wants answered is if Tyler Huntley’s injury is season ending. Here’s your answer:
“No season ending injuries, thank goodness.”
Whittingham on Troy Williams coming in for Huntley:
“Troy came in and did exactly what I thought he would do and what I would expect out of him. He’s a professional; he handles himself the right way. Nobody was more disappointed when we made the announcement of who was going to start at quarterback way back when but he continued his work ethic, his focus, his concentration, and I knew that when his number was called that he’d be ready.”
Do you have to adjust the offense with Troy Williams at the helm?
“I think we tweak it a little bit. It’s not a wholesale change. There’s no reason for that. Troy is a very capable runner. He’s good in the pocket. I’m sure Troy Taylor will altar the game to fit his specific skill set but like I said, there’s not a great deal of difference of things we need to change or do. Troy is very capable of running this offense as is.”
Matt Gay has been perfect so far this season. Coach Whittingham says nothing seems to faze him:
“He’s got the perfect mentality for a kicker. He’s mentally tough. He’s a very confident kid. He’s mechanically, technically, very sound. He’s got a strong leg and he gets the ball out quick. He’s a huge plus for us this year.”
How will the team use the bye week to prepare for the rest of the Pac – 12 schedule?
“We’ve got plenty to work on but for this week the travelers won’t see the field. They will have a couple weight room sessions and that’s it. They need some time off. They’ve been going at it nine-straight weeks. They need to be able to get their legs back underneath them and get healed up. But there are third downs, red zone – we’ve got a lot of things to work on but that will start Monday. We will handle this week much like we did a couple weeks ago in the rivalry game where we will have an extra day of practice during game week. Monday and Tuesday will be like two Tuesdays.
Whittingham on what guys he expects to fill the shoes of the players out with injuries:
“There is no season ending injuries. We’re going to be optimistic and hope everyone is ready in two weeks. Maybe that’s wishful thinking but we will see what happens.”
Whittingham being the number one defense in the nation on takeaways:
“We emphasize that every year, every week every day. The turnover margin is the most important stat in football and our guys are doing a very good job taking the football away.”
Concern over penalties:
“We’re very concerned. It’s not the end of the world. The type of penalties, it just seems for four-straight weeks, you know, we haven’t had the blatant hits, you know swinging at someone after the play, there hasn’t been any of those. The penalties we have had, we can live with a lot of them but it’s still too many. We know we’re not doing ourselves any favors with how many times we’ve been penalized. Still, we want to be aggressive and push the envelope. We have to cleanup what is going on, but what’s going on could be worse.”
Whittingham addresses the run game:
“We’re not awful. I think we’re roughly in the middle of the pack. We’re used to running the football a lot better than we are right now, but we’re throwing the football better than we have been, so it’s give and take. I think it’s a combination. We need to run off the ball a little more offensive line wise, create more creases and run with a little more violence when the ball is in our hands. We’ve got new guys up front that are figuring out how to work together. So, I think it’s a combination of all of the above. But still, all that being said, I think, unless we’re wrong, we’re right in the middle of the Pac – 12 in rushing offense.”
Armand Shyne will probably redshirt:
“We think he’s going to redshirt. It’s going to be so late when he does get cleared. If it’s not the end of the season completely there will only be one or two games left. It doesn’t make sense to play him when he gets healthy because there’s very little football left.”
Whittingham addresses the miscommunications in the punting area:
“There have been too many issues so we’ve got to get that fixed. With that said, I think we have the best punter in America. His athleticism is phenomenal and he can make the best out of a bad situation, like you’ve seen a couple times this season. We’ve got to do a better job of helping him out.”