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Kyle Whittingham Weekly Press Conference: San Diego State

Sep 12, 2022
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SALT LAKE CITY – University of Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham held his weekly press conference on Monday, meeting with members of the media inside the Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center.
Selected quotes from Coach Whittingham can be seen below. The full press conference video is available here.
Opening Statement
"Obviously, a lot better weekend for us. Good to get the win. We should've won, we did win, we played like we're supposed to. A lot of positive things in that game. The score aside, we just played with better fundamentals and technique, particularly in the front seven on defense. A lot better gap control, run fits, everything that was so bad in Week 1 was much improved in Week 2. Red zone production offensively, we did a lot of good things, but we know we've got to keep getting better. We've got a San Diego State team coming in here that put one on us last year and just flat out beat us. We've got to be prepared and ready. I'm sure our guys will have a great week of practice. We came out of the [Southern Utah] game healthy for the most part, no season-ending injuries. Now we've got another home game, which our guys really look forward to, playing here at Rice-Eccles. A lot of good performances; it was great to be able to get the twos extensive work in the second half. In fact, the No. 1 offense did not play at all in the second half. The No. 1 defense played one series. So we got the twos—a lot of those guys got 30 reps. Those are invaluable, because you're going to need [those guys] to play. If not, and you don't get them this year, it will help for next year with those guys that need to play for us next year. So a lot of good things coming out of the game on Saturday, but we know we're not where we need to be and we've got to continue to work and get better at pretty much everything we're doing."
On getting more out of the wide receivers…
"As I said at the onset of the season and through Fall camp, if the wideouts can become more explosive, that's really the final stage of the offense becoming where we want it to be. They did make some plays [Saturday]. Money Parks, I was impressed with Money Parks. He ran some really good routes, made some nice catches on Saturday. Devaughn Vele still really hasn't gotten untracked, though he had three catches. But the tight ends are going to continually be a focal point of our offense, because they're so productive. You saw the catches Dalton Kincaid made and Brant Kuithe is a terrific player. So it's not going to become a situation where the tight ends become secondary, because they're going to be prominent in the offense. They're good, they're really good players. But if the wide receivers can become more of a factor, that makes us a lot better. That would be great if that can happen."
Where do the wide receivers need to go in their progression to get there?
"Get open more and demand the ball. You can demand the ball when you get open. I'm not saying they're getting gloved up, but quarterbacks like to throw to open guys. So you've got to get open, and if you want the ball, that's an easy answer. Get open, you'll get the ball."
On Bryson Barnes' performance Saturday…
"I thought he did a nice job. I thought he came in and ran the offense very efficiently. It wasn't wide open, it was a very narrow selection of plays we had in the second half, because the game was in hand after that 38-point second quarter. But we still wanted to see him throw the ball around a few times. He didn't throw it a ton, but I thought he did a really good job. Then Ja'Quinden Jackson came in and got some good reps as well. But overall, I thought Bryson played well."
On evaluating week-to-week against an FCS opponent…
"It's hard to completely get an accurate gauge of where you are, because there was a talent disparity or discrepancy. That's fact, I don't think anybody would disagree with that. But just the way we went about things, whether you're taking on a guy from the SEC or a guy from wherever, there's certain fundamentals and techniques you need to employ. And we did a much better job of that on Saturday."
On scouting San Diego State, and if there's any attention paid to scouting Arizona at this point (whom SDSU played in Week 1)…
"You do [watch them] a little, just secondarily I guess you could say. You're focused on San Diego State, but any time you're watching tape of someone you're going to play, you notice things. It's not your focal point, but you're going to make mental notes. Of course, when you get to that particular game week you'll watch it all again. But yeah, there's things you can make note of."
On similarities and differences between last year's SDSU squad…
"Very similar, more similarities than differences, particularly schematically. They're still a shotgun, spread attack. They've got a couple big tight ends that they use a lot. Stable of backs…anyway, they're athletic, they did lose a couple good O-linemen from last year. So they've had to replace them. Same scheme on defense. Lost a couple good players there as well. But they do a good job down there. Brady Hoke does a great job with recruiting. We'll have our hands full."
On Chris Curry's performance this past Saturday…
"Chris played very well. In fact, I guess you could confidently say that was his best game as a Ute. He was very productive, ran the ball well. He's just a guy that we have complete faith in and confidence. He's good at everything; he can catch the ball out of the backfield, he can pick up blitzes, he runs the ball efficiently. Speaking of running backs, I thought Jaylon Glover did a nice job as well and showed some signs and some flashes of what he can be. Micah Bernard…played plenty of reps, but didn't have a lot of touches. Tavion Thomas' big downer was the fumble, but we just gotta keep working [there]."
On Cameron Rising's response in Week 2…
"I thought he responded outstandingly. His numbers were terrific, he threw for a bunch of yards, high completion percentage. I thought he came back [well]. I don't want to say he played poorly in the Florida game, but it wasn't his best game. He was much sharper in [the SUU] game."
On offensive line groupings…
"What you saw on Saturday with the first five and the second five that played the second half, that is the depth chart. To answer your question, that's the 10 (in the first and second groups) that going forward, we don't plan on changing that. Unless there's significant reason; injury, significant drop-off in play or one of the twos during practice shows they need to get some reps during the game. Something like that."
On what stands out from last year's game at SDSU, particularly as a turning point for the season…
"It was very miserable. What obviously stands out is when Cam entered the game in the fourth quarter and provided that spark immediately. Poor special teams, I think we had two or three punts blocked…it just seemed like we were way out of sync in that football game. We played good defense for the most part. What was it, triple overtime? Can't remember, two or three overtimes. It was not a good experience, and we just didn't play well. But after the outcome and moving forward, it turned out to be a change in our season because of making the quarterback change and going with Cam the rest of the way. It ended up being a pretty good year."
On what he remembers about Cam Rising going into last year's SDSU game…
"Leading up to that, his attitude was terrific. He prepared as if he was the starter from the outset, even though he knew he wasn't. He continued to work hard, watch film, and told me 'hey, when my number's called, I'll be ready. I promise you that.' And his number was called. He responded, and he absolutely was ready. The rest is history, I guess you could say. From that point forward, we never looked back…the job was his, once that happened."

The No. 14 University of Utah Utes are set to host the San Diego State Aztecs for its annual Ute Proud game on Saturday, Sept. 17. The game will kick off in Rice-Eccles Stadium at 8 p.m. MT on ESPN2.
To get an inside look at the Utah Football program, follow the Utes on social media (Twitter: @Utah_Football | Instagram: @UtahFootball | Facebook: Search Utah Football), along with visiting for news, schedule and roster updates throughout the season.