Kyle Whittingham Weekly Press Conference (Nov. 1)
SALT LAKE CITY – University of Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham met with members of the media on Monday morning inside of the Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center.
The full press conference can be viewed here, and selected quotes from Coach Whittingham can be seen below.
The Utes (5-3, 4-1 Pac-12) are coming off a dominant win against UCLA on Saturday, and look to bring that momentum with them as they visit Stanford, Calif., for a Friday night showdown against the Cardinal (3-5, 2-4 Pac-12). Kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. MT in Stanford Stadium and will air on FS1.
"First thing I want to say is congratulations to my good friend Gary Patterson on a great career at Texas Christian University. All-time winningest coach and did just a tremendous job during his time there and it just won't be the same without him on the sidelines there in Horned Frog Stadium. I'm confident that if he wants to keep coaching he'll have plenty of opportunities. I just want to wish him the best and let him know that I have the utmost respect for him and what he's done in his career."
"Secondly, Devin Lloyd has been named a semi-finalist for both the Bednarik and Butkus award which is great news for Devin and for us. It's a prestigious honor if he's able to continue on and win that and just to get this far is really a tribute to his hard work and everything he's put into this program through the years."
"As far as our game, I'm really proud of the way our guys played. We came out and played with a great deal of physicality and that was the mantra all week long. Physicality. We knew we were going up against a very stout run defense, top 12 in the nation and number one in the Pac-12, with under 100 yards allowed and we gained nearly 300 yards rushing. So that was the one biggest factor in the game and the reason why we were able to win that game. Everything in our offense plays off of that and it just sets up everything. Tavion had a big night, I was proud of him, and another reshuffling of the offensive line. We were without Keaton Bills so Nick Ford moved over to left guard. Paul Maile came in at center, did a great job, and the rest speaks for itself."
"Defensively we played a lot better than we did the week before. Still not a great defense but certainly an improved defense. We had some big plays, an interception that set up a touchdown for our offense and a safety which was huge at the time and was a play that really got the momentum back in our favor. Special teams wasn't really a big factor. We didn't punt the ball at all with our punt unit. We had two quick kicks with our offense and Cam Rising did a great job with those. Covey had one return, they only punted twice, and not much going on with the kick-off game. Anyway, it was a good win and now we are heading to Stanford on a short week which is always a challenge. Everyone has those challenges in their schedule somewhere and this happens to be one for us this week. On the road and one less day to prepare so we need to be very good in our preparation, our utilization of the time we do have, and hopefully we are able to keep some of this momentum we have. Our offense has played very well for four weeks in a row with over 450 yards of total offense, another week of no turnovers, and so we seem to be really figuring out some things on offense. There is always room to get better and we have some guys stepping up making plays. As I mentioned, the offensive line is really performing well."
On how to keep the momentum going on a short week going up against a physical Stanford team…
"We had a team meeting last night and we addressed those things you mentioned. The only thing that matters this week is trying to find a way to beat Stanford. We don't care where we are sitting in the standings and we certainly don't focus on it. We know they are a good football team, they've beaten USC, Oregon, and they are a team that can play some really good football. That's the nature of the Pac-12…this conference is such that you need to be at your best every week and if you aren't, you're going to get beat."
On if quick kicks with Cam will still be considered in the future…
"We'll see, it certainly paid dividends on Saturday night with both kicks ending up inside the 10-yard line. Cam was the punter for his high school team, so it certainly wasn't new to him, and the quick kick isn't anything extraordinary. A lot of teams in the country do it and have success with it so we'll see where it fits week to week."
On Stanford's first year quarterback Tanner McKee…
"He's a big strong kid. A pocket guy, who can move around, but he'd rather beat you from the pocket. 6'6", 230 or 240, strong arm and he's a really good player. He was a big-time recruit coming out of high school and he's their guy at this point."
On the level of success and physicality the Stanford defense plays with…
"They're physical and you have to respect every opponent you play. They aren't having as good of a year on defense as they typically have. I know in years past they have been very stingy but this year a little less so in the run game. Still, we are expecting a physical battle and it should be a great game."
On the offensive line and the key to their turnaround…
"I think it's just hard work and continuing to accept coach Hardings coaching. It hasn't been continuity because we've had so much flux there and there's been so many different combinations that we've used. They just have a lot of pride in that room and talent. There are good players in the room and Nick Ford looked really good at guard on Saturday. Paul Maile came in and did a really good job at center. He had a couple errant snaps but other than that, played really well. I just think it's hard work, focus, attention to detail and accepting their coaching."
On how much the confidence the team has helps the offense…
"A ton. They are really having fun. They are enjoying what they are doing, they're not pressing, they're not tight, and really just letting the game come to them and making plays. Really, we've had so few drops…and the pass efficiency has really gone hand and hand with the increased efficiency in the run game. It all ties together and we seem to be hitting on just about all cylinders right now."