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Utes football: Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham full Week 3 press conference transcript (+video, audio)

By Deseret News

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Sept. 9 2013 11:44 p.m. MDT

Whittingham pre-OSU press conference, Week 3

KW: It would be great to started on the right foot, as I mentioned earlier, and that is something that we haven’t done in our first two years in the conference. We are going to prepare and hopefully have a great week of practice. Right now we have a little bit of momentum on our side with the first two victories. It should be a good game. We got them at our place two years ago and they got us at their place last year, so our guys will be excited to get out there and start conference play.

Reporter: Are you guys still experimenting in return game with both punt and kick returns.

KW: Not so much. Bubba Poole is the lead guy. He got on track. It was good to see our punt return game on track. In the Weber game on Saturday, we had a bunch of yards. Kickoff return, we did not have much opportunity. ... They kicked off a couple times. Bubba is going to be the lead guy. Delshawn McClellon also is a guy that you saw get a return, so he is guy that may be a factor there as well. Right now Bubba is still the guy that will handle both kickoff return and punt return duties.

Reporter: Watching things offensively Coach, (I) saw the tight ends pop open a couple times in the first quarter. They were not targeted or thrown too. I know that was one thing you were looking for. Seemed like there were some opportunities there. Maybe there was some plays that were dialed up for them. Is that something that you will be paying attention too again. I know that some of you said last week that you needed to get the tight ends more involved.

KW: Yeah, I think we will continue to pay attention to that. We did pay more attention to it this past game, and as you mentioned we did have a couple Y-option routes that Travis just lost sight of the tight ends for a second so he came off it, but we got to continue to integrate those guys into the offense. I think you saw some of that on Saturday, but going forward, we are hoping that those guys become even more of a factor for us.

Reporter: Coach, you talked about the importance of getting those reps for the second- and even third-string guys. What about the importance also of getting the first-stringers out of there healthy and get them rested going forward.

KW: Yeah, that's another positive spin as well. Your (first-teamers), they've played, depending on which side of the ball you're on, 30 to 45 snaps. I think that with the season as long as it is — 12-week season — and as many snaps as you're having to defend these days, I think the wear and tear obviously in that game was very minimal. That's another positive as well as getting the (backups) reps, and so hopefully in the long run, in the big picture, that should be a positive for us.

Reporter: In these first couple of games, it could be said that Oregon State has struggled defensively. Do you see anything on their defense that you can take advantage of, or what do you see from these guys?

KW: Well, they played much better against Hawaii than against Eastern (Washington). They held Hawaii to about half the yardage — less than half the yardage, I think — than Eastern got, and far fewer points. Again, just a couple games is really not enough to get a good feel and a good barometer for what you've got or what an opponent's got. We're going to go in with a plan. We're going to use last year's game as a blueprint as well as far as schematics. So, we'll see what happens, but the defense did definitely show up much better — Oregon State's defense — this week than they did in Week 1.

Reporter: Coach, you've talked so much about needing explosive plays. In two games, it's hard to judge for a whole season, but are you seeing elements of this offense that maybe weren't there in the past when it comes to that?

KW: Oh yeah, without a doubt. Particularly when you compare it to the past couple years. This Saturday, we didn't snap the ball a whole bunch of times because of exactly that. We had some quick-strike scoring drives that didn't last very long — you know, one or two plays or three plays. So, that's something that has been severely lacking the last couple years and has shown up in the first two games this season. We hope it continues, because if it does, our offense has a chance to be pretty darn good.

Reporter: This rivalry has been very interesting. You've had some very weird things happen, whether it was Matt Asiata going down last year, or a lot of turnovers. ... Can you just talk about this rivalry that you've formed with Oregon State?

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