clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kyle Whittingham Weekly Press Conference Recap: Week 9

Brittany Johnson

Coach Kyle Whittingham recapped Utah’s win over UCLA, previewed the team’s matchup against Arizona State and even talked some Utah State during this weeks press conference.

Listen here

Coach Kyle Whittingham’s opening statements:

”Another solid effort by our team on Friday night. All three phases played well again. We continue to be in a rhythm on offense, continue to play well on defense and special teams is coming around. We won the turnover margin, 3-1, which always works to our favor — almost alway to our benefit. Outstanding individual performance by Zack Moss. He was over 200 yards for the night and was really the catalyst for the offense. We didn’t throw the ball as much as we did in previous games, but we didn’t need to, and that’s fine. As long as we are efficient when we do to, that is the key. We had a good showing in the punt return game — Britain Covey getting some things going in the punt return game. Matt Gay was his usual, solid self kicking the football, and Mitch Wishnowsky punted the ball well and created a takeaway with our punt team on a muffed punt, so that was good. It was good to get that takeaway early in the game. Now it is on to Arizona State. They are playing well and had a nice win at the Coliseum on Saturday. They have some weapons. They have a very good running back. Their quarterback is dynamic and athletic and their receivers are as good as there is in the country. We have a lot of challenges, particularly for our defense, coming up this week. It is just like every week, you have to be ready to go. It is another game that we have to play well in. So, that’s where we’re at“

On Britain Covey being the team’s swiss army knife and what about his skillset allows him to flourish in different roles:

”First of all, he is so intelligent. He is one of the most intelligent players that I probably have ever coached or been around, so he can be taught all of those various positions where he is in the backfield or the slot or involved in special plays. That’s the starting point. He’s very athletic. He’s not the biggest guy, but he has tremendous quickness, he can throw the ball. In the return game he is excellent. He is a do-all guy for us and is a critical component to what we are doing.”

On why the Utes struggled against Arizona State over the years:

”They have good players and that is something that has been consistent since we’ve been in the league. They have been one of the more athletic and talented teams. They are well-coached and they have always been well-coached. Herm Edwards is doing a great job with them. I don’t know what our record is against them, but they have been a tough match-up for us.”

On what makes Javelin K. Guidry an effective slot corner:

”Number one is his blazing speed. If his player gets separation, he has the ability to close that separation in an instant. He is almost always in good position on the route. He knows exactly where to be and where to position himself. But the key is that speed and quickness that he has.”

On when the two linebacker line-up evolved:

”That has been a few years now where that has been the majority of the snaps, that four-two-nickel. I think that transition occurred maybe three or four years ago where the tipping point occurred when the four-three was the lesser played scheme. I am used to it and we are used to it. I’d say if you went across the country that is pretty much the standard.”

On Arizona State’s rush heavy defense and if he has seen a lot of that from them this season with Herm Edwards as the coach:

“Not as much pressure as when coach [Todd] Graham was there. There was big time pressure when Coach Graham was there, but not so much now. They split time in a three or four man front. A lot of zone coverage in corners or cover three. So yeah some more non-pressure defense than what they have been in the last four or five years.”

On how the wide receivers have improved since the start of the season:

”They have been one of the most improved areas on the team from the beginning of the season. What we are getting now is what we were expecting from watching them in spring and fall camp, so they just had a little bit of a slump there for a couple of weeks. They are now performing up to their capabilities and making great catches.”

On Solomon Enis:

”He is just a true freshman, but he has worked himself into a starting role now. He is an exceptional blocker as well. To play receiver here, you have to be able to play when the ball is not in your hands, and that is blocking. Our receivers take that very seriously and they know that if they don’t block, they aren’t going to be on the field. That is something that Solomon is excellent as well as being an ecellent receiver.”

On if he attributes the four straight games with 40 points to the consistent play by the offensive line:

”Certainly that has been one of the biggest factors, yea, without a doubt. I think there is more to it than just that, but I think that has been a huge plus for us the last couple of weeks is the consistency, the physicality of the front and those five guys. Even without Lo [Falemaka] in there, they are really starting to gel and come together.”

On Arizona’s State Eno Benjamin and what they saw in him when Utah was recruiting him:

”He is a solid back. He’s consistent. He’s a tough runner. He has very good vision. He runs behind his pads well and he gets north and south. There isn’t a lot of wasted motion with him. He takes good care of the ball. Their whole team is doing well at taking care of the ball. They have only turned it over six times this year and that is low in the Pac-12. They are taking care of the ball better than anyone in the league. We really liked him out of high school and recruited him hard, but didn’t end up getting him.”

On another slow start against UCLA:

”There is nothing we can really attribute it to. You would like to have fast starts every week, that would be ideal, but the last couple of weeks in particular, we haven’t gotten off to great starts. You just go into the game prepared. Sometimes things go your way early, and sometimes they don’t. They key is that if it doesn’t go your way, you have to be ready to handle adversity, which our team has done a great job of — handling adversity all season long.”

On Zack Moss not getting a carry early on in the game against UCLA:

”Yeah we talked about that offensively and some of the things they did defensively lended itself to maybe attacking the edges instead. Still in hindsight, we all agreed we should have just given it to Moss even if that was what they were trying to take away. He is so effective. Scouting them and going off their tendencies, it did make sense to attack the edge, but we outsmarted ourselves a little bit.”

On what is making Troy Taylor’s offensive scheme so effective at this point in the season:

”I think the same things that I mentioned last week that are starting to come together. We already talked about the offensive line, the receivers have stepped up and the drops have pretty much been eliminated, Zack Moss is Zack Moss. You just feed him the ball and good things will happen. And then you have Tyler, who is playing with so much confidence and has taken a grasp and command of the offense right now. Even though he didn’t throw for a ton of yards on Friday, he is just doing a great job of running that offense. The play calling has also been very good.”

On if Terrell Burgess will be the starter at safety on Saturday:

”There are other possibilities, but that is certainly one of them. Terrell is kind of the swiss army knife of the defense. He can play corner, slot corner, either safety spot, so we will just have to see what the best combination is. That is a strong possibility that he would take over there though.”

On Utah and Utah State being in the top 20 for the first time:

”I respect Utah State’s coach and I think they are doing a great job up there. They are playing very well in addition to what we are doing. We both seem to be hitting on all cylinders and it is good for the state to have two teams ranked.”

On if they will exploit Arizona State’s pass defense:

”There is always what the defense’s strengths and weaknesses that goes into planning, but not as much as what you do best. We feel like we are getting a pretty good idea of what our identity is. So it is kind of a blend of what we do best and then if they put nine people in the box, you have to be able to have an answer for that and throw the ball. We will just do what we think is going to be the most effective but I can tell you that Zack Moss will always be a big part of our plan.”