SALT LAKE CITY — It was a question that made Utah coach Kyle Whittingham wince, a little bit anyhow.
When reminded that the Utes are 6-0 after a bye week in his tenure at the helm, Whittingham had a quick response.
"You had to say that, didn't you?" he deadpanned. "I didn't realize that."
Whittingham has actually been part of an even longer streak of post-bye week success. Including his days as defensive coordinator under Ron McBride and Urban Meyer, Whittingham has been involved with 10 consecutive Utah victories following a bye.
The quest for No. 11 comes Saturday when the Washington Huskies visit Rice-Eccles Stadium for Utah's homecoming.
"We've got a model for bye week that we've followed for a lot of years now," said Whittingham, who acknowledged it does get tweaked a little bit based on circumstances.
However, for the most part, it's pretty routine — even if this season's bye week is Utah's first in September since 2002.
"We try to make that a positive regardless of when it comes," he said while noting that the early bye didn't alter the basic approach of giving players a chance to heal up and get their legs back. It also allowed the coaching staff time to get some recruiting done.
"We approach the bye week pretty well every year and we did a good job of that this year — of going out, practicing and staying focused," said Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn.
The Utes seek a balance, of sorts.
"It's stressed pretty well that when it's your down time, it's your down time," Wynn said. "But when we're out here we're working."
Utah practiced three times last week and didn't just go through the motions — not with Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" blaring over the speakers. Wynn said Whittingham plays every version possible.
"We go out and get after it," Wynn said. "We do a lot of crossover work. So it's offense versus defense, ones on ones, so it's physical.
"We improve," he emphasized. "We don't take it as a week off."
Right guard Sam Brenner said it's all about preparation.
"I think we just prepare really well during a bye week."
The numbers prove it.
Utah has outscored the opposition 383-160 in its 10-game post-bye winning streak. The run began with a 28-17 victory over UNLV in 2002. After topping Colorado State and Wyoming in 2003, subsequent triumphs have come on an annual basis. The Rams (2006, 2009) and Cowboys (2005, 2007) were each victimized two more times, while the others include North Carolina (2004), New Mexico (2008) and Iowa State (2010).
Last season's win over the Cyclones was a 68-27 decision in Aames, Iowa.
Pac-12 home opener
Washington (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) at Utah (2-1, 0-1)
Saturday, 5 p.m.
TV: ROOT (FSN) Radio: 700 AM
Utah football after a bye week
The Utes have won 10 straight games following a bye week in the regular season, including six under head coach Kyle Whittingham.
Date Opponent Outcome
10/9/10 at Iowa State Won, 68-27
10/10/09 at Colorado State Won, 24-17
11/1/08 at New Mexico Won, 13-10
11/10/07 Wyoming Won, 50-0
11/11/06 Colorado State Won, 35-22
11/5/05 Wyoming Won, 43-13
10/16/04 North Carolina Won, 46-16
11/15/03 Wyoming Won, 47-17
10/27/03 at Colorado State Won, 28-21
11/9/02 UNLV Won, 28-17Pac-12 home opener
Washington (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12)
at Utah (2-1, 0-1)
Saturday, 5 p.m.11 comments on this story
TV: ROOT (FSN) Radio: 700 AM