Utah football: Ute head coach Kyle Whittingham full press conference transcript (+video, audio)
Reporter: Can you talk about Jared Norris' performance on Saturday? Also what have you seen from UCLA and have you looked at the film yet?
KW: Jared was very productive on Saturday night. He is a physical, tough inside linebacker. One of our defensive leaders, he is a good leader for us. He’s inspirational for the defensive side of the ball and keeping people emotionally in the football game.
As far as UCLA, they have a lot of skill. They have good skill, quarterback is playing well, receivers are talented and they are a well-rounded football team overall. They are very good on defensive. Right now I haven’t studied them in depth yet, but when I had a chance to watch them play — I saw some of the Nebraska game — they are a well-coached football team, and they got good athletes.
Reporter: You put the benchmark at five plays of plus 20-yards or more. So far through four games, you have already had 29. What would you credit that to mostly?
KW: I think it is a combination of things. First of all, better quarterback play, the receivers are making plays on the outside. Dres Anderson is doing a nice job with being explosive on the outside. Offensive line has given us time to make those throws. We have a lot of deep crossing routes that require great protection and giving Travis time to get the ball out. So I think it’s a combination of those three or four factors that have allowed us to be more explosive, which we needed to have happen.
Reporter: UCLA’s quarterback is a threat to run and pass. Having faced mobile quarterbacks early on in the season, does it give the defense a template of how to prepare for UCLA’s quarterback?
KW: I think it was good preparation. We are going to face a bunch more of those guys not only this week but throughout the rest of the season (most weeks). In this day and age in football, accounting for the quarterback running the football in a pure quarterback run series as well as moving around in the pocket. Quarterbacks as a whole are so much more athletic than they used to be, so every week is a challenge for us to make sure we structure the defense to account for the quarterback every play, essentially.
Reporter: Coming off the performance against Oregon State, granted Taysom Hill is probably is not as skilled as Sean Mannion, but is there a lot of confidence going forward with the secondary?
KW: We hope so. We had meetings today and we have a long way to go, but if we take steps forward like we did between Oregon State with this past ballgame each week, then we will be in good shape. We still have a ways to go; there are a lot of things to clean up in the secondary, some misalignments, some bad eyes, some things that are very fixable. It was a huge improvement over the Oregon State game, and we need that trend to continue. As long as these guys have the right mentality, the right work ethic and they come to practice and work the way they did last week, I think we will continue to progress.
Reporter: Four games into the season and your freshman kicker still hasn’t missed. Can you talk about what a story that has been?
KW: Yeah, great contribution for our football team. I think he is seven for seven on field goals and perfect on his PATs. So that has been a big plus for us. That is something that we have really had a big benefit from, and his performance as a true freshman, never having played at any level of football, it’s really remarkable what he has does so far. Now we are only a third of the way through now, but every week seems to be the same story, so if that continues, then we’ve got a heck of a weapon for us.
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