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

Published: Monday, Sept. 23 2013 1:50 p.m. MDT

Kyle Whittingham press conference, 9/23/13, the Monday after the BYU win

KW: Yeah, it was an in-state sweep, it finished off all the in-state games. Having a two-year break in the series meant that we were not going to have the opportunity to play for the next two seasons. It was important to go out on a winning note. We really emphasized the seniors winning this game and never having lost in the rivalry game. Which is something that has not happened a lot in the history of the rivalry, at least not in the last 40-50 years. As important as anything else is coming off a loss to Oregon State and getting back on track. We did not want to go into this bye week with two straight losses.

Reporter: BYU had 30 incompletions. Can you remember a game where your defense forced the offense to have 30 incompletions before?

KW: Yeah that’s a lot of incompletions. I mentioned in the highlights of why we were able to win the football game. There was some positives as well, and the pass coverage was one of those and the way the corners played in particular and the safeties. To my recollection, I cannot remember a game where there has been 30 incompletions. They did throw the ball 48 times, which is quite a few times. Pass coverage always starts on the line of scrimmage. I thought we got after the quarterback well, we had five sacks. We missed several opportunities. That guy is hard to sack. He is a lot like Chuckie Keeton how he moves around in the pocket. Not quite as elusive as Chuckie but more powerful and harder to get down. When you put it all together with the pass rush and improved coverage in the secondary, I think that is one of the reasons why you saw a low completion percentage.

Reporter: Did you have any season-ending injuries in that game?

KW: No. No season-ending injuries to our knowledge at this point in time. We expect things to be all right.

Reporter: You have a meaty section of the schedule coming up with a couple of ranked teams on the schedule. As you prepare for the heart of this schedule, what are some of the things that you guys need to tighten up?

KW: The pass coverage needs to continue on the trend that it started on last Saturday night. We need to make more plays on the ball. I think that is something that has got to continue to improve. We weren’t quite as good on special teams on Saturday as we usually are. That is usually an advantage for us. It was a wash at best. I think that is something that has got to improve for us. Offensively we are doing a lot of good things on offense, but third downs were not good at all on Saturday night. We were one of 14. That is not good, and we cannot have that continue. Third downs on both sides of the ball have been average at best all season long. That is something that’s got to improve. Both in getting out of drives defensively and sustaining and keeping drives alive offensively.

Reporter: Can you talk about some of the quarterbacks that you are going to face and how they compare to some of the ones in the past as far as quality?

KW: There are a lot of good quarterbacks in this conference. Just about every team has a quality quarterback, so it’s hard to single any of them out. The Pac-12 conference is loaded with talent not only at quarterback but on the perimeter as well with the wide receivers. We just got to be ready and defensively we got to bring our A-game every week in order to have a chance to compete. It’s going to start with our defensive line. I think we are second in the conference in sacks. If we can continue to get pressure on the quarterback, that’s going to be a key. One of the other keys to the game on Saturday night I thought we won the line of scrimmage without a doubt with our defensive line against their offensive line. If that trend continues, I think we will be in pretty good shape.

Reporter: Talk about the maturity of Travis Wilson, getting better every week and winning the National Player of the Week award.

KW: His numbers have been terrific all season long. He was the National Player of the Week for offense, which was a great award for Travis. He is doing everything we need a quarterback to do. He is taking care of the football, he’s very efficient in the throw game, and when he does pull it down and run, although it wasn’t as effective on Saturday night, he is a very capable runner. So really he just needs to keep everything heading in the direction of his head and there is no real area where I can say OK, that is what his weakness is right now, right now there is no weakness. Everything is coming together, but there is always room for improvement. As long as he continues to do the things he has done in the first four ballgames, we are going to have a chance every week.

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