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Camp Kyle 2020: Third And Final Week

Oct 26, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah football team entered its third and final week of fall camp as the 2020 Pac-12 football season gets closer every second.

The days leading up to Nov. 7 are critical for the Utes as they continue to prepare for their conference only slate of games. Utah's game against the Arizona Wildcats on Nov. 7 will officially kickoff at 2 p.m. MT on ESPNU.
 

With Sunday being national tight ends day, the Utes spoke with the media on Monday with Utah's standout duo Cole Fotheringham and Brant Kuithe answering questions alongside wide receiver Solomon Enis.
 

U Voices: Kyle Whittingham, Freddie Whittingham, Brant Kuithe, Cole Fotheringham, Solomon Enis

Kyle Whittingham | Head Coach

On evaluation Saturday's scrimmage…
"We are still in the process of evaluating Saturday's scrimmage. We are mostly finished but we still have some things to clean up and evaluate. Overall, a lot of good work, a lot of progress. Sometimes it is hard to tell exactly where you are when you are working against yourself and you don't have any opponent to gauge where you are at. If you are playing well on offense, you don't know if it is because you have a good offense or aren't very good on defense, so we are in that mode right now of trying to figure out exactly where we are at, but there are a lot of positive things going on. The quarterback competition is coming to a head and we think that we are about ready to make that decision and get a one, two and three in place. Running backs continue to make progress, the offensive line continues to be one of the strengths of our team as is the tight ends and wide receivers. Defense continues to be a work in progress. A lot of work to be done there and we don't have a lot of time to work with. We've got our work cut out for us and we will see where we are at on Nov. 7. So far, we are pleased with our players' efforts, focus, concentration, work habits, so nothing lacking there, just a matter of getting everything up to speed."
 

On when they will start prepping for their season opener against Arizona…
"We've already begun that to a certain extent. It has been interspersed in practice the last seven to eight practices, broken into scout teams. So we have periods where we work on specifically Arizona offense or defense, that will become even more of an emphasis starting tomorrow and then will become exclusive probably about Thursday or Friday where focus will be completely on the opponent where they are no longer competing against each other."

On getting in on the ground early in recruiting and offering athletes early…
"We have a philosophy that our guys always have the green light. All of our assistants we feel confident enough in those guys that their evaluations are usually spot on. You aren't always right in recruiting, nobody is, but they have the latitude to go ahead and make those offers. Often times, there is a fondness that they always remember their first and I think that has helped us out in a lot of cases. That has been an M.O. for us for a lot of years and we are going to continue to do that."

On preparing to play in front of limited or no fans…
"Well we have already begun practicing with the ambient noise at the crowd level or decibel level that it is supposed to be at, so we've already had that going on in both of the scrimmages. I think the normal level is 70 decibels but you can raise it to 90 if something exciting happens. It is going to be different no matter how you cut it, but players seem to get on autopilot and in a groove. When you are on the field and you are playing, you don't really notice very often the surroundings. Our stadium is awesome. We feel we have some of the best fans in the country and certainly some of the loudest, so that does give your players a boost emotionally, particularly on big downs and when things are going on that are exciting. But players for the most part are locked in and in a zone and are oblivious to what is going on around them."
 

Freddie Whittingham | Tight Ends Coach & Recruiting Coordinator

On the addition of Dalton Kincaid…
"I mean you can never have enough good players, right? So, the role of recruiting is to recruit the best possible players you can find to join your program. The guys that are here welcomed Dalton with open arms and have been really helpful to him in getting him acclimated to the program and understanding how we do things here. Dalton has come in and done a really nice job for us."

On if this is the deepest tight end group they've had since joining the Pac-12…
"I know there have been a lot of good tight ends here throughout the years and tight ends that have gone on to play in the NFL, but since I've been here as the tight end coach I feel like we've been consistently able to recruit to the position. We were a spread team for a several years there with Urban Meyer and really didn't recruit a bunch of tight ends, and when Andy Ludwig came in and his offense really utilizes tight ends, we've been able to develop a few that we had in the program and recruit some more. I feel like we have a very strong group right now that will hopefully help us contribute on the offensive side of the ball and score points to win football games."

On as the recruiting coordinator, how hard the pandemic has made recruiting…
"It is challenging because you are so used to having a chance to get out and go recruiting and visiting the schools to see these prospects in person to see them practice, see them play games. You are able to have camps over the summer, you are able to have them to your campus to visit and you are able to get a good idea about their personality, and so we've had none of that in this class. So you do the best you can to adapt and adjust, using all the tools that you do have, like what we are doing right now with Zoom. We've done virtual visits, we've looked at film where they've been doing offseason workouts rather than game film and stuff like that, so we've tried to accommodate and do the best that we can. I feel bad that the players themselves don't get the chance to visit all of the schools they are interested in visiting in-person because it is hard to replace that feeling that you get when you come visit a place to see the environment, see the campus, meet all the players and coaches, it is just a different dynamic. So it has been challenging, everybody is dealing with the same thing."

On where Brant Kuithe has grown as a football player…
"Brant is a pro. He wants to get better and he has that inner desire to be the best that he can be. So, what we've asked specifically of him is to put on a little bit more bulk. Lift weights, continue to get bigger and stronger so that he can have more of an impact in the run game. He is an excellent run blocker, but a little added weight behind him those blocks can be a bit more devastating and you can get a little more movement on the defenders. Another big area is just stepping up as a leader. He has been elected to the leadership council, so making sure the team as a whole is doing things that we need to do to play at a championship level. He has responded to that challenge greatly."
 

Brant Kuithe | JR | Tight End

On how he wants to step up his game this year…
"Just overall gaining weight and being better in the run game. I also want to improve in the pass game. There is always room to improve and be a better teammate. Overall, I just want to be a better player and do the things that the coaches ask me to do and execute on all of those things."

On why he thinks tight ends are being called upon more in the pass game…
"Because it is just a mismatch. We go against linebackers and they can't guard us and we go against safeties and we are a lot bigger than them, so I think it is just a mismatch game. Plus, when we are in the game we can either run the ball or pass the ball. When you are in a spread, there isn't much running going on because you have a lot receivers, and they can block well, it is just you can't really much of an inside zone like tight ends usually do."

On if he thinks he has a target on his back after his year last year…
"I'll have to get in film study a lot more and just see tendencies and I have to win my one-on-ones. I expect a lot more because a lot aren't expecting me to do what I did last year, so getting extra attention is OK, just have to prepare more before the games."

Cole Fotheringham | JR | Tight End

On what he sees from this year's tight ends…
"I think with this group and the offense as a whole we have done a really good job of doing what we have been asked to. I think Coach Fred has led us and directed us in a great direction, but we are always trying to improve and get better. So, just doing the little things in our run steps and in our passing routes, just all of the little details that we can focus on to get better results is what we are working on this year."

On if he is expecting this year's offense to take a step forward from last year…
"I think the sky is the limit for our offense. With everyone coming back, we have a lot of weapons. I am excited to get after it, get out on the field, make some plays and score a lot of points."

On what he has been working on to better his game…
"Back in March when everything happened, I was able to work out like a lot of the other guys, try to work on my body, work on getting stronger in the weight room and getting faster on the field, more explosive between cuts. I'm just trying to improve my game in every aspect of what a tight end is asked to do."

Solomon Enis | JR | Wide Receiver

On being buried among wide receivers last year and where he feels he can take his game this year…
"I'm just worried about being a good teammate and being a leader for the younger guys, especially this year stepping into that role with a lot of known names leaving this past year. So whatever comes with that, I'm ready for it. If I need to be the guy that makes plays on third down or every single down consecutively, I can do that and provide that for the team. I'm just trying to improve on myself as a person and to be a great leader and teammate to my fellow teammates."

On the depth at wide receiver this year…
"I feel like as a group we are very solidified. We have a lot of guys that can step up and make plays. I'm excited to see what comes this fall. I think everyone is ready and up for the challenge."

On how comfortable he is in Ludwig's offense…
"Coming in with a year under my belt and especially as a group, it is easier. When we had the Zoom meetings this summer, having that one year already and getting the terminology down, it was easier. Coming back, we didn't really miss a beat and that's why we've been so electric so far, because everyone is up to date already and we are constantly adding new stuff. That is how his offense is, it is just built off what we have already learned with tweaks here or there that will benefit the offense with what we have skill-wise that can help the team out overall."