Kyle Whittingham: If you had told me Andy Phillips was going to be 12 of his first 14 kicks, we all would have taken that

Full video, audio and transcript of Utah football press conference

Published: Monday, Oct. 21 2013 3:15 p.m. MDT

Kyle Whittingham full press conference video, 10/21

KW: Great question. I talked in length with coach (Dennis) Erikson who has been coaching for a long time, and he said that he’s experienced the same thing many, many times in his career and doesn’t really have an explanation for it. It reminded me exactly of Arizona State last year and Cal Berkeley — exactly. Same feeling in the locker room, same lack of passion, lack of energy. Why is the million-dollar question. We didn't prepare any differently. There was no signs of it coming, and so we’ve got to get fixed obviously, or else this is going to be something that, you know, is a negative force again, so you can’t let that happen going forward.

Reporter: Coach, if you do end up with either Schulz or Manning at quarterback, does that change your game plan offensively at all with Travis being a little bit more of a running quarterback?

KW: Well, a little bit. Yeah, we’ve got to talk advantage of the guy pulling the trigger and Schulz obviously has the big arm and Connor’s a thrower as well, as so if that is the case, then, yeah, that will alter the game plan, not radically, but somewhat.

Reporter: When, ideally, will you make a decision if Travis can go or not?

KW: Ideally tomorrow. You know, we’ll see. If we can get him a practice tomorrow, we’ll have a good feeling or a good idea of where he stands. We’ll see. That’s a medical staff decision and obviously Travis' as well.

Reporter: Is that something that could come down to game time, you think?

KW: It could, but we hope not. You know, the quarterback position, you know, we’d rather have that settled going in and giving the reps to the right guys, the guys who are going to be available to play. We’ve got to handle that a little differently than another position.

Reporter: Coach, would you only pull Manning out of a redshirt year if Travis were going to be out for more than one game?

KW: Right, yeah, if it’s an extended thing, which we don’t think it’s going to be. You know, we wouldn’t do it for one game. That’s a great point. I didn’t mean to paint that picture, but if Travis was not available for just this game, then Schulz would be our guy. If it’s beyond that. ... I’m assuming that was the scenario I was covering, but we would not make that move with Connor, and with only five games left in the regular season.

Reporter: You talk about USC, how different are they since the firing of Lane Kiffen? You talk about a challenge. I imagine any time you go to the Coliseum, it’s a challenge.

KW: Well, they’re very similar, and defensively, especially. That didn’t impact the defense at all, and so they’re playing good defense. In fact, they're No. 1 in the Pac 12 total defense now, playing exceptionally well on that side of the ball. Offensively, just a few minor tweaks, other than, otherwise it’s very similar. You can’t wholesale change in the middle of the season. What you’re seeing the last couple weeks is very similar to what you saw the first three or four weeks.

Reporter: USC’s top running back from last year, Silas Redd, has been banged up. He’s coming back healthy and been playing the last couple weeks. With him back, do you expect USC to have more of a ground game and are you concerned, given how the running defense performed against Arizona?

KW: Well, they’ve always been a run-first team. Well, not always, but most years, they're a run-first team. Redd is a tremendous back. We’ve played good run defense up until last week. You know, last week was obviously horrific run defense, but prior to that, we’ve been pretty solid, and so I expect them to establish a good run game just like they always do, and we’ve got to do a good job on defense trying to negate that.

Reporter: Coach, for three straight weeks, you’ve given up an early touchdown drive by the opponent and kind of a late one. Also pretty solid in the middle. Can you give an explanation for that?

KW: Good observation. It’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about this morning. I think it’s the opening drive in the last three weeks, if I’m correct. And so, we’ve got to find a way to get out of that first drive and, as you mentioned, the last couple of weeks, we’ve given up one at the very end, so that’s something that ... We’ve got to play better in those situations.

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