Kyle Whittingham: It's apparent that chief among Utes' problems is turnovers

Full video and transcript of Utah football press conference

Published: Monday, Oct. 28 2013 4:25 p.m. MDT

Utah football: Kyle Whittingham full press conference October 28, 2013

KW: No, no one thing, just collectively, we haven’t been as good. You know, I think one thing at Stanford, you know, we lost our two tight ends the week before and we came out and we had some things that they hadn’t seen. (It) took them by surprise, didn’t adjust or didn’t have the opportunity to make the adjustments in-game, and since that point in time, you know the element of surprise, obviously, has been gone there.

And so, we’ve got to just figure out ways to utilize our personnel and maximize the guys that we have available because we spent all spring and fall adhering everything to a one and two tight-end attack which was working pretty good until the obvious happened.

Reporter: Coach, you talk about how ASU has a very complete football team. What do you see as your biggest strengths that match up really well against ASU?

KW: Defensive line. I think our defensive line matches up with anyone in the conference, and that’s been proven so far every week out. Let’s see, our linebackers I think are playing really well. I think Jacoby Hale had a big impact on the game, Trevor Reilly — who’s a slash guy: he’s a part-time linebacker, part-time defensive lineman — I think that’s a good match for us. Our running backs have been productive when they’ve had opportunities. We didn't have much opportunity to get them underway on Saturday. And the kicking game, I think that our kicking game matches up week in and week out with anybody.

Reporter: And coach, how big of a difference do you think just mentality wise playing at home makes for this squad?

KW: Well, it’s been a big difference so far. Our home mentality has been really good and we’ve been very competitive at home; haven’t won them all, obviously. We’ve done a pretty good job at home, not no good a job on the road in conference play.

Reporter: Wanted to get your thoughts on Trevor Reilly being one of 12 (finalists) for the Butkus Award.

KW: Yeah, very well deserved and he had a big game on Saturday — two or three sacks, two or three tackles for loss. And he’s continuing to make an impact for us on a weekly basis and to be one of 12 guys narrowed down at this point in time on that list still remaining is an honor for him, well-deserved like I said.

Reporter: Kyle, there’s only about four or five Pac-12 teams that have more players currently in the NFL than your program. Is that deceiving in any way? Should that suggest that Utah has as good a players as anybody?

KW: I think our top-tier players are very good. I think you look at, when you look at one through 85, that’s really what you’ve got to go on to determine how talented your roster is. And so, I think our top-level guys through the years have been as good as most other people’s top-level guys. It’s really the core — you know, your one through 10 and then you throw out your bottom 10 — it’s really the core in between that really is the difference-maker.

Reporter: Kyle, do the lack of interceptions have anything to do with the lack of experience you have in the secondary this year?

KW: I think so. I think we’re breaking in three new secondary guys, well four new secondary guys when you count the nickel package when we have five DBs on the field. I’ve been pretty pleased and proud of the way that secondary’s come together with, you know, with eight games, and we still have four to go, so it’s not a complete season. But so far, the body of work has been pretty competitive; we made some plays on the ball Saturday and have come along with a step forward each week, you know, throughout the season. As soon as I say that (I) put the jinx on them. But to say where we started with those guys, experience-wise, and just their amount of time in Division I football for a lot of them, it’s been a pleasant surprise for us. Not a surprise, but a positive for us.

Reporter: Do you guys keep track of a stat like interceptions dropped or possible interceptions or anything like that?

KW: Yeah, missed opportunities we call them, and there’s been a bunch of those this year, missed opportunities.

Reporter: Is it double digits?

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