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Kyle Whittingham Weekly Press Conference: Washington State

Oct 24, 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
"Washington State this week. Thursday contest, obviously coming off a bye for both teams, so extra preparation time for each team. Washington State's a good football team. They're playing very well on D, in fact, No. 1 in the conference in points allowed, which is really the bottom line and the most important statistic defensively. They've got some good players on defense, the linebacker is exceptional, [Daiyan Henley], I think he's second in the league in tackles. They've got a couple defensive ends that put pressure on the quarterback. Secondary is talented and plays hard. Offensively, very similar to the scheme we saw against the Trojans 10 days ago. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing for us. But there's a lot of carryover. It's '10' and '11' personnel, predominantly. Predominantly '11' personnel in control downs, then jump into '10' on third downs. It'll be a test for our secondary; they're primarily a throw team. Not getting done much in the run game but quite a bit of production throwing the football. That's something that will be a challenge for our secondary. Night game, obviously, it's a Thursday nighter. Should be a good contest for us, and we're going to have to play our best. There's no doubt about it. They do some really good things on tape. They've had some good wins this year. At Wisconsin is probably the biggest win for them this year. Took care of Cal pretty handily. That's where we're at."
On building on momentum from the game…
"That was a good effort by our guys against USC. Hung in there, continued to fight. It was a great college game. Anybody who was at that game or had a chance to watch it I'm sure felt the same way. Real testament to our players and their competitive nature how we hung in there. Offense did a great job keeping us in the game. That was really the key to the game; matching the scores that S.C. was putting up on the board, and keeping us within striking range. Then at the end, being able to get that last play to win it. We'd love to keep that momentum heading into this game and that confidence on offense. Hopefully we can build upon that."
On coming off a "shorter" bye week with this game falling on a Thursday…
"We gave [the players] a couple days off after the last game at home. We did come in on Monday, watch the film and put that game to bed. Tuesday and Wednesday we gave them off, then we picked up on Thursday as if it was a Monday, then just carried on through. Gave them Sunday off, so [Monday] is kind of like a Wednesday/Thursday hybrid practice, I guess you could say. [Tuesday] will be like a Thursday, then we're right on track for a Wednesday/Thursday [routine] that is the same as a Friday/Saturday."
On the run game…
"We're not as productive in the run game this year as we have been in years past. But on the other side of that, we're throwing the ball pretty darn good. So as long as you're getting it done one way or the other. We seem to be at our best when we're running the ball effectively, which opens up the play-action pass game even more so than it has been."
On defensive adjustments during the bye week…
"Little bit of streamlining, not a ton. We weren't doing all that much, it's not like it was overly complicated. But you look at the second half, we played much better in the second half than we did the first half last week. There's no panic or reason to have wholesale changes. But if we can play more like we did in the second half rather than the first, that's the objective. Just guys making plays, playing with confidence and playing hard. They always play hard. But just settling in and making plays."
Do the changes to the Pac-12 Championship format (now No. 1 vs. No. 2 rather than the previous North vs. South Champion) change your perspective on how to get there?
"I don't think so. You're just trying to win every week, that never changes, no matter the configuration of the league. As I said before, I'm not a math major, but I would think having to be better than 10 of the schools rather than five of the schools to get to the championship game would make it a little more difficult. But everyone's in the same boat. The champion is going to be crowned by who wins the game in Las Vegas. Not whether you go in there first or second. I don't want to say it's irrelevant, but really, the Pac-12 champion will be determined in Las Vegas. You just have to get yourself to that game."
On the Thursday game coming off the bye, and essentially getting more time next week…
"I think this is the ideal scenario if you have a bye, to have [the next game] come on a Thursday. So you get an extra couple days [for this game] and an extra couple days for next week. I think that sometimes you can get a little bit stale going the full two weeks. If you were to map it out and say 'this is exactly how we want it to play out' I don't think it could be any more beneficial than it is, at least from the preparation and time sequence."
On Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward…
"He's very similar to what we saw against USC. He's got a big arm, he can extend plays, he's hard to sack…this guy is very similar and can get himself out of jams, and has done a nice job throwing the ball. They're close to 300 a game [total offense], throwing 280 ish. Somewhere in there."
Utah takes on the Washington State Cougars on Thursday, Oct. 27. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. MT on FS1.
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