Utah football: Ute coach Kyle Whittingham, AD Chris Hill on the same page
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah athletics director Chris Hill said that he shares the same feeling as head coach Kyle Whittingham following the Utes’ second straight 5-7 season.
“Both Kyle and I are disappointed,” Hill said after Saturday's 24-17 win over Colorado. “We want to do better and Kyle and I are going to sit down in the next week or two and figure out how we’re going to do that and what things are going to make our program better in the future.”
Hill added: “Kyle’s our coach. Absolutely.”
In his postgame press conference, Whittingham noted that he’s addressing the situation quickly.
“We’ve got to get better and I’ll evaluate everything starting tomorrow. It begins right away,” Whittingham said. “And anything that we can do to make us better will be done. But I don’t have anything to give you right now in that regard, other than it’s obvious that we have to improve at a lot of things and in a lot of areas.”
Whittingham added that he’ll take a long, hard look at it.
Utah went 2-7 in Pac-12 play this year.
SENIOR FAREWELL: The Utes honored their 19 departing seniors in a pregame ceremony. The honorees included: Quade Chappuis, Anthony Denham, Sean Fitzgerald, Latu Heimuli, Phil Hinson, Mike Honeycutt, Vyncent Jones, Soni Kinikini, Keith McGill, Thretton Palamo, Tenny Palepoi, Trevor Reilly, Percy Taumoelau, Jeremiah Tofaeono, Tanqueray Towns, LT Tuipulotu, Michael Walker, Karl Williams and Kelvin York.
When Reilly was introduced, he ran onto the field with his baby daughter Shayn on his shoulders. She has undergone treatment for kidney cancer.
"That was a symbol for the fans and everyone to thank them for their prayers and good fortune they've put on my family and my daughter,'' Reilly said. "She's made it through so far and she's more famous than I am, so I'm sure they were happy to see her.''
BACKUP PLAN: With quarterback Travis Wilson out for the season and backup Adam Schulz playing, the Utes’ only other quarterbacks Saturday were redshirts Conner Manning and Brandon Cox.
Twice in the fourth quarter, the Utes had to hold their breath when Schulz appeared to go down with possible injuries.
First Schulz appeared to injure his hand when he pulled down a Colorado defender near midfield after a fumble by Jake Murphy in the end zone.
Then, the next time the Utes got the ball, Schulz twisted his knee after a 16-yard run on a play that was reviewed as a possible Schulz fumble.
During the review, Manning and Cox started warming up. However, Schulz jumped to his feet and continued to play the rest of the way.
When asked afterward how injured he was, Schulz simply replied, “I’m fine.’’
Whittingham said he was ready to put in Manning if he had to.
“We had that conversation with Conner and said, ‘This may come down to the last few minutes,’’’ said Whittingham “He’s a team guy and said, 'Whatever I’ve got to do.' It would have been unfortunate and I’m happy it didn’t happen. (Adam) is a tough individual and he understood the situation as well.''
MURPHY UNDECIDED: Utah tight end Murphy has yet to decide if he’ll file paperwork to the NFL for an evaluation on his possible draft status.
“At this point, no. It is hard to want to leave an atmosphere like this, especially after a win. I feel like next year we can do some damage in the Pac-12,” Murphy said. “But I will sit down with Coach Whittingham and talk about what would be the best thing for me to do.”
EXTRA POINTS: Wide receiver Dres Anderson became the seventh Utah player to reach 1,000 yards receiving in a season. He led the Utes with 94 yards on Saturday, finishing the season with 1,002 yards. ... Utah running back York finished with a career-high 132 yards rushing. ... The announced attendance was 45,023, the 25th consecutive sellout at Rice-Eccles Stadium. There were, however, plenty of no-shows — particularly in the student section. ... Scouts from the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and CFL’s British Columbia Lions (former Utah State running back Emmett White) were credentialed for the game.
Twitter: @DirkFacer, @Sorny8
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