Skip to main content

Postgame Quotes vs. USC

Nov 22, 2020
Pac-12 logo

Utah Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Kyle Whittingham
On the game overall 
"It was a disappointing game. A lot of positives, however, especially on the defensive side. Our defense played scrappy. The run defense was solid. We need to clean some things up in the pass game. But, really, we had some pretty good performances from a lot of the guys who hadn't played much football for us, if any. The thing we didn't count on was not being productive on offense. We thought we'd be much more productive offensively. We have a veteran group. It's tough to win games when you turn the ball over five times—one of those turnovers was a Hail Mary at the end—and only score 10 points offensively. You aren't going to win many games in this league doing that. We've got our work cut out for us. We don't know anything about Cam (Rising) at this point. We'll know a lot more tomorrow. Jake (Bentley) came in and did some good things. I know he has a couple of throws I know he wish he had back."
"Overall, a tough way to start the season. Not sure who we will play next week. We'll find out later tonight or tomorrow. We've got a lot of improvement we can make and need to make between games one and two. But, like I said, there are some encouraging things there. Clark Phillips, Nate Ritchie, Sione Fotu, Van FiIlinger, Xavier Carlton, all of those freshmen who had their first chance to play some collegiate football did some good things."
"I thought the offensive line would take over. We didn't really push people around like we had hoped to. We need to get ball to Brant Kuithe more. Ty Jordan showed some good things early and then we went away from him. We have to continue to get the ball to him."
"There's a lot of things we learned as coaches tonight, and we have to get better at as coaches. That's where it starts. We have to do a better job of getting these guys prepared and do a better job of getting the ball in the hands of the playmakers, and just do a better job overall. Have to continue to work hard and get better."
On how the young defense did against a pass-heavy offense 
"Not bad. We made some plays. We had a nice interception there and could have probably had a one or two other ones. We didn't really give up any deep balls over the top. We played a lot of tri package with three safeties and two corners. The reason is that big receiver of theirs, Drake London, is really more like a tight end. So we thought the best matchup was to go with that three safety look, which made Nephi Sewell a safety in the scheme for the majority of the game. That secondary will get better. It was a big test. That's probably the best corps of receivers in the Pac-12. The yards we gave up, that's not too bad. Young or old, it doesn't matter. You have to perform. And we do have some things we need to clear up."
What made Cam Rising the starter
"It was a tight race, but there was enough separation that we felt it was a unanimous decision among the coaching staff. But there was not a great deal of margin between the two. We thought Jake came in and did a nice job. Cam is a little more mobile. It was close and we like them both. We also like Drew Lisk for that matter. Cam did all the things we needed to see throughout camp. But Jake is probably going to be the guy now. Cam took a pretty good shot with that shoulder. We'll find out more tomorrow, but if Jake is the guy then we will rally around him."
How does this season feel and is this a season of building for the future
"Nothing feels regular right now. Having that stadium empty was bizarre. It was weird. But this is not a season where we are just working on the future. We want to compete now and we want to win now. It will take some time to get these guys up to speed. We lost a heck of a defensive unit that had nine guys move on to the NFL. We had some guys who got an opportunity tonight, they made some mistakes, but there are some things we can build on on that side of the ball."

Quarterback Jake Bentley
 On what caused so many turnovers 
"I think it just goes back to emphasizing that in practice. We've done a great job in practice. We need to commit to fixing that. It's something we'll get started on tomorrow and we will get it fixed."
On what it was like coming into the game for Cameron Rising
"It's always tough coming in after the defense already got their opening drive out of the way. But it's not an excuse at all. I was fully prepared before the game to come in and execute. It took a while to get going there as an offense. That is something we will look at for sure and getter better at."
Linebacker Devin Lloyd
 On shaking off the rust
"I felt like we were in sync most of the game. Near the goal line we had some mental mistakes. Other than that, we were able to rally back and have a better second half. But in that first half for sure, there were just some mental mistakes, especially near the goal line, that allowed big plays. Just missing some tackles, just little things."
On how difficult it was going against USC's Air Raid Offense
"Their speed wasn't too complex. They are really talented and trust their playmakers. They trust throwing it them wherever on the field. They trust their quarterback. Running and passing, they weren't doing anything too complex."

USC Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Clay Helton
Opening comments
"To come out of here with a win, which was a big win for us, and for our season, I'm really proud of our kids. I thought the storyline tonight, one was our defense. I thought they played amazing the entire game, really only giving up 10 points themselves. We gave up seven points offensively. We had a goal in the second half coming out of the locker room that we did not want to allow another point, and, unbelievable. I thought the defense in the second half rallied and rallied and rallied, turnover after turnover, fourth-down stops…just did an amazing job. (LB) Kana'i (Mauga) coming in making the most of his opportunity, the playmakers in the back end getting the interceptions that they got, multiple sacks by the defensive front. I thought we got the quarterback of his spot all night. The other thing, I thought, that needs to be said and noticed was the kicking game. I thought the two specialists did an amazing job tonight. Parker Lewis really set coverage for us, in kick coverage, also with the field goals that he made and then Ben (Griffiths) just not allowing them the opportunity to get a return started. Our defense and our special teams, I thought, were stellar. Not on all cylinders offensively tonight, but did enough to get it done and put enough points on the board to get the win."
On the difference that allowed the progress shown tonight
"I thought execution defensively was phenomenal. I thought they played with a swagger tonight and played with tremendous emotion. I think that we're growing as a football team. To come into Salt Lake, where I know Kyle (Whittingham) had not lost an opener in the last 11 years…to come in here with the mindset that this team had, that we were going to do whatever it took to come out of here with a win, to get to 1-0 on the week and 3-0 on the season, I thought their mindset was an improvement from the last two weeks."
LB Kana'i Mauga
On the way he felt the defense came together
"It felt amazing. There was a lot of talk by our whole defense saying that we were going to be in a fight, and that's basically what we did the whole game. We took the fight to them, gave more blows than we took, and came out on top."
On what was the biggest area they've improved from the first two games
"It's basically stopping the run. That was our main goal. Utah had two running backs who are very powerful and we just wanted to focus on stopping the run and making them air out the ball so our DBs can work. The amount of viciousness, I guess you could say. We were really getting after the ball and making sure that everyone on our defense was zeroed in when the game starts."
QB Kedon Slovis
On how he felt tonight, and his performance in general
"I didn't think I had any issues throwing the ball. I don't think I played very well as a whole. We left a lot of points on the board and that's mostly because of my play, not being disciplined. I think if you see my play increase we will put up a lot more points and have a lot more success offensively."
On what he saw on the interception, how he shook that off, and the talk about this arm
"On the interception, it's just a 'four verts' play that we run all the time…I think I was just kind of on a different page than Erik (Kroemmenhoek), but where he was running I thought he was going to take a different angle, but still it's my fault with the interception. When they gave us that look I've got to just check it down or be smart with the football. It was just a carless throw. With all the chatter, I think if anything it motivates me to be on my best game. I thought this week we had a great week of practice offensively. I just want to see it carry over to the game."