Kyle Whittingham: '(UCLA) really has no weaknesses right now' (+video/audio)

Full transcript of Utah football's Monday press conference

Published: Monday, Sept. 30 2013 3:10 p.m. MDT

Kyle Whittingham press conference, 9/30/13, prior to UCLA

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the media prior to Thursday night's game against the No. 12 UCLA Bruins.

On mobile? Watch the press conference on YouTube.

Don't have time to watch the video? Here's the audio.

This is a full transcription of today's press conference:

Kyle Whittingham (KW): OK. I thought we made the most of our bye week. We got a lot done, got the players some rest, got some bumps and bruises hopefully healed up, so we're back today. Obviously a short week this week with the Thursday game.

UCLA, as I mentioned last week, is a tremendous football team, ranked 12th and 13th in the country in the respective polls. Really, they have no weaknesses right now. Offensively, they're leading the conference in total offense. They may be leading the nation in third downs — I haven't checked. They're leading the Pac-12 for certain at 68 percent and might be leading the nation in that category.

Bottom line is that it's a big challenge for us, but we'll be ready to play and we're looking forward to the game on Thursday night.

Questions?

Reporter: Coach, looking at UCLA's offense and its ability to make explosive plays on offense, how important will ball control be for your team?

KW: That's always important for our team. Our offense has done a nice job of protecting the football and not turning it over this year. We've been very good with ball security, and that will be a premium this week, obviously. And then making first downs. …

In order to make first downs, we've got to be much better than we were on third down in the previous game. Third down was the biggest negative to come out of the rivalry game — our lack of third-down production. That's got to improve, and if that improves, then we'll move the ball better by making first downs and controlling the clock a little bit.

Reporter: Coach, it was just a few years ago that UCLA was pretty much an also-ran and they were kind of going nowhere as a program. Then they hired coach Mora, and he turned things around really quickly. Is this kind of a testament to how the right hire can come in and make a team that hasn't been so good really good in a short amount of time?

KW: I think that's part of it. Coach Mora's a heck of a football coach. He's got a great background, and he's done a lot of good things at a lot of different places, but my no means was the cupboard bare when he got there. Coach Neuheisel had done a great job recruiting there, and they had talented players.

I think it's a combination of a great deal of talent that he inherited but taking that talent and maximizing it. I guess the answer to your question is, "Yes," on one front, but there's more to it than just that.

Reporter: What is it that their quarterback, Hundley, does that makes him such a great weapon?

KW: Well, he does everything well. He's a lot like our guy, Travis (Wilson). Their numbers are almost exact, when you compare the two. They're within a point or two of each other in pass efficiency. Hundley runs the ball well like Travis does. There's a really good comparison between those two guys, and it's going to be an intriguing matchup. The quarterbacks are going against each other head-to-head Thursday night. What Travis brings to the table and makes him difficult to defend, Hundley does the same thing for the Bruins.

Reporter: In general, what are your thoughts on these very early week Thursday games, and specifically with this one, how fortuitous is it that you're coming off a bye to prepare for it?

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