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Kyle Whittingham Press Conference Recap - Week 11

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off of a 49-3 victory, head coach Kyle Whittingham recaps Utah’s win over UCLA, plus previews the team’s matchup this week against Arizona.

Opening statement…

”Played a good game on Saturday night. Offense, defense, both sides of the ball were very productive. Special teams, not much of a factor in the game, but like I said we had outstanding offensive production with over 500 yards of total offense. We had 40+ points, ran the ball effectively, threw the ball maybe as efficiently as I’ve seen a Utah team throw the ball. Defensively, we played the run tough, we had a bunch of takeaways and we were exceptional in the redzone defensively. Most of those takeaways came in the redzone, which magnifies them. We came out pretty healthy and now we move on to Arizona. It is on the road, last Pac-12 road trip this year. They have some weapons. Their running back J.J. Taylor is a good player. He is tough, runs hard. Their quarterback, we all know about Khalil Tate, and I know they are splitting time recently, but he is a talent. Defensively, they haven’t been as productive as they wanted defensively and then they had the change in coordinator a few weeks ago which I’m sure changed things somewhat. We have to be ready to play. It is a Pac-12 game. Every week if you are not on your game, then bad things are going to happen. We need to have a good week of practice and we need to handle our business like we have been the last several weeks. We need to have the right attitude, the right approach and the right mentality and go down there and try to play well.”

On if this is the offense he has always wanted…

”I love what we are doing offensively. I think we had very similar results the last time Andy was here. So, I think it is a great complement to our defense because they play off each other. They have been great so far. You never make your final analysis until after the season, until you have the whole body of work, but so far it has been pretty good.”

On what about Tyler Huntley’s performances have “wowed” him on a week-to-week basis…

”His complete dedication and his complete emersion into the details of what he is doing. His preparation is outstanding. When we are in the locker room pregame he is still in his book, preparing right up before kickoff, looking for that last little advantage.”

On if Huntley competing for the starting job with Troy Williams helped him become the quarterback he is today…

”It is a process and when he won the job way back when, there was going to be growing pains. Any time you are the new quarterback I don’t care what the situation is, there are going to be growing pains. So I guess the answer is yes. There is a period of adjustment and getting use to the speed of the game and the complexity of the college game. It is much more complex than the high school game so it just takes time to really feel comfortable. But then the game starts to slow down for you when you start to gain experience. That is when you start to become really effective.”

On Arizona’s defensive coordinator change and what changes that brought to their defense…

”Not wholesale changes, but just changing the leadership and maybe a little bit of a philosophical change.”

On what has been different about this team in how they have bought into the program…

”The culture here we feel has been really good for many years and last year’s team was similar to this year’s. It just seems we’ve taken it up a notch this year. I mean you have like 120 guys on the roster and as far as I can tell every single one of them is bought it and every single one of them is all in. Everybody is pulling the same direction and they are great teammates. That is something we preach a lot, the main concern you should have as a player in this program is to be a great teammate.”

On if the national spotlight noise gets harder to tune out toward the end of the season…

”It certainly gets louder and there is more of it, but you still have to take the same approach and the same M.O. of just not listening to it and keeping your vision and focus with what the immediate task at hand is. Our guys to this point have done a great job of that and here we are with the last two games of the regular season and hopefully we don’t deviate from that now.”

On Terrell Burgess and his progression…

”He has been tremendous this year. He was a little under the radar coming into the season, but we have always known he is an outstanding player and this was his opportunity to play full time. He was behind some pretty good safeties last year. He has played his way into an opportunity to play at the next level through hard work. He is a great athlete and he’s got speed. He is smart and he knows the defense inside and out. He is technically and fundamentally sound and he played his way into the Reese’s Senior Bowl and my guess is he will play his way into the NFL.”

On Brant Kuithe and how he stretches the opposing defenses…

”He is playing his best football without a doubt. He is just a true sophomore. He is a tough matchup for defenses. He can’t be covered by a linebacker in our opinion and then a safety matchup sometimes doesn’t work either. He is an extremely smart kid and he understands how to run routes. He understands defenses. He isn’t the biggest guy as a tight end at 6-2, 240 but he has tremendous quickness, speed and soft hands. He has a knack for finding open space.”

On if Morgan Scalley is as intense as a coach as he was a player…

”Every bit as intense. There is a great deal of similarity in how he plays and how he coaches with his style. He is passionate, intense, always thinking. He is smart. Talking about those guys that would be in their book in the locker room before games, Morgan Scalley was one of those guys. He is the same way as a coach. We go to a team movie every Friday night and Morgan never comes into the movies, he is sitting in the lobby watching tape. He is just a relentless preparer and an outstanding teacher. He is also really good schematically. He is a really good mind for it and has all of the tools to be a great defensive coordinator.”

On roster management with not knowing how many games you have left…

”It is tricky. There are some variables on how many games we have left. We have the redshirt roster that we look at every single week and keeping track of who has played in what games, and there are probably about half a dozen players that are right there at the maximum or approaching the maximum that we have to determine if we are going to put over the threshold and just use the year. That will be determined in the next few weeks. We don’t want to put a player in a bad situation, but if he is willing and he can help us win, then there is a conversation that takes place and then we decide after that.”

On if he takes pride in seeing his former assistant coaches get head coaching jobs…

”I take pride in that. Guys that have been in our program and have gone out and flourished as a head coach, I think that is something to be proud of. A lot of our guys that leave here take our blueprint and use it other places, so it is not only a source of pride, but maybe verification of what we are doing here.”

On watching tape and seeing little things that they can still fix…

”Absolutely. There was a lot of good stuff, but still a lot to fix. You don’t want to let winning mask deficiencies. You have to grade it and critique it. The win or the loss doesn’t matter when you are grading the tape, there are always things that get uncovered in a win as well as a loss. The thing about winning is you can coach them harder because they aren’t as fragile. When you lose a few, you get a fragile team and it is hard to coach them hard. Some of your best and hardest coaching can take place after wins.”

On if there are any guys on this year’s team that he could see get into coaching…

”Britain Covey comes to mind. He is the kind of guy that wants to get going in this direction as far as becoming a coach. He comes to me pretty much every day with an idea or a play, something that he wants me to take a look at.”

On if he gets to enjoy winning or if his mind quickly switches to the next opponent…

”As soon as the gun goes off and the game is over, I’m already thinking about the next opponent and so I probably do myself a disservice by not enjoying the victories as much as I should. I think that is how a lot of coaches are built. You are always on to the next thing. When the season is over you can look back and reflect and maybe that is when you appreciate a little bit more of what was going on.”