Kyle Whittingham: 'In our 4 losses in the Pac-12, we've had 15 turnovers. That can't happen (this week).'
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the media Monday afternoon in his weekly press conference.
In his comments, Whittingham expressed sadness over the death of Matt and Shawn Asiata's father, described the activities that will take place this weekend in conjunction with Veterans Day and discussed how Utah football is approaching the Arizona State game.
Here is a full transcript of the press conference.
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Kyle Whittingham: OK, first of all, I want to say how deeply saddened we are as a program. Matt and Shawn Asiata, two of our players who played for us, lost their father a few days back in a tragic accident. I went to the funeral today, and really our thoughts and prayers are with Matt, Shawn and the whole Asiata family. It was just a horrible thing, and so we want to make sure that we acknowledge that.
For the game Saturday, also, a little sidebar to the game, we’re having a “Salute America” theme, and we’re going to be wearing some different drum-and-feather decals on the side of the helmet honoring the servicemen of the country and the veterans as well. At halftime, the band will have a presentation to honor the servicemen as well. So, that’s going on in addition to the normal activities of the game.
Arizona State: tremendous football team, talented. “Complete team” I think was the term I used last week — well, I know I used that term. They’re very good on offense, second only to Oregon as far as total yards, points per game and second only to USC, I believe, in total defense. There really is no weakness. They’ve got a lot of things going for them. They’re playing very well right now. They’re in first place in the South, and they are, right now, a very hot team. They’re coming into Rice-Eccles, which is a positive for us. We’ve got them at home, but it’s going to take our best effort in the game this weekend.
Reporter: Coach, looking at Arizona State’s offense, what challenges do they present specifically for your team's defense?
KW: Well, I think they’re so balanced. They do an exceptional job running and throwing the football. Taylor Kelley, their quarterback, is a great decision-maker. He has done a nice job with the read-zone aspect of their offense. He throws the ball very efficiently. Grice, Marion Grice, the running back, is a talent. They’ve just got a lot going for them on offense and they’re doing everything well. There really is no weakness right now. They’re throwing the ball, they’re running the ball, they’re doing everything to a high degree of efficiency on offense.
Reporter: So Kyle, two times you’ve played them in the Pac-12, they kind of got you really good. Is it speed thing, or is there a common denominator in those two losses?
KW: Well, last year we clearly were flat, not to play our best game, and they took it to us down in Tempe. The year before was really close. I think it was 14-13 with a couple minutes left in the third quarter. I think if I remember right, we had three, I think we had three turnovers in succession, which let the game get away from us, but you know, they’re first good personnel-wise. Coach Graham did a great job with the personnel, but he was left with a great deal of personnel. Coach Ericson had done a good job recruiting there, and Coach Graham has maximized that talent.
Reporter: Coach, any special insight Dennis Ericson can give you on this program? It’s been a couple years, but is there anything you can give similarly to when he was there?
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