Utah football: Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham full Week 2 press conference transcript (+video, audio)
It's a big loss losing Kenny Scott. Him and Dres, as we've mentioned several times throughout the course of camp and game week, they're our two best receivers. They had separated themselves from the rest of the group, but both Fitzgerald and Denham both stepped up and really performed well for us Thursday night.
Reporter: I know it's an obvious question, but it's been a couple years since you've been able to get off to a 2-0 start. How big of a deal is it to get that mindset — to get that winning track start before you start Pac-12 play?
KW: Well it's a big deal on a couple different levels: 1) As you mentioned, before Pac-12 play begins, and 2) the schedule, how it lays out this year, with a bunch of home games in the beginning half of the schedule, we need to gain some momentum. And I think it's important that we take advantage of the home schedule early in the season because it gets very difficult as the season goes on.
Reporter: Were you pleased with the effort of your secondary, your corners and your safeties in this past game?
KW: Effort, yes. Outcome, not so much. Chuckie Keeton had a big day throwing the football. Our techniques were a little bit sloppy, and it wasn't all the defensive backs. The linebackers didn't have the route awareness that we need in the zone coverages. Defensive line, I think, can get a better pass rush, which will speed things up for us. Overall, our pass defense was very, very below average, I guess you could say.
Reporter: Kyle, in the first week, aside from the captains Travis (Wilson) and Trevor (Reilly) any guys on the practice field you're seeing step up on the practice field and become the vocal leaders that you look for?
KW: All four captains are doing a great job of that. Tenny (Palepoi) and J.T. Tofaeono, the other two, are really responding. Eric Rowe is a great leader for us. V.J. Fehoko out of the linebacker corps Jake Murphy out of the tight end position So there's a lot of guys in addition to the captains who have been instrumental in the leadership of the team.
Reporter: Off topic on the play part, but what do you think of the new closed captioning services that Rice-Eccles Stadium is offering to fans who are hearing-impaired?
KW: I think it's great. Anything we can do to make the game and the experience at Rice-Eccles more accessible to everybody, I think that's a positive thing. I like it, and I think that it's going to be a benefit to a lot of people.
Reporter: Coach, can you talk a little bit about the run game and what's going on there?
KW: Our run game as far as the Utah State game or ?
Reporter: Going forward.
KW: As I mentioned, I think we've got to be more efficient. We got some yards, 140 or somewhere in that range, but our yards per carry wasn't good enough. Too many plays that were stalemated, where we had little or no gain. The goal-line stand was disappointing, where we had a chance to get a touchdown there late in the game, and we end up settling for a field goal. There was just a lot of things that we need to clean up.
I don't think it was a scheme issue. We had a solid rushing attack as far as the schematics. We just have to be more violent and be better at what we're doing in the run game.
Reporter: You mentioned that you made some drastic defensive changes at halftime in that ballgame. Without getting too much into X's and O's, are those changes that we could see throughout the season, or was that just an in-game adjustment for Utah State?
KW: Well, I think more of an in-game adjustment as to what was happening in that particular game. The changes we made are things that we already have in our package. We didn't put in any new coverages that we don't have in the defensive playbook, but we certainly were in need of some different looks in that second half, not only in the coverage, but in the front play. We made some changes up front to help us out in the run game and in the pass rush.
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