Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — It’s all about Fresno State for the Utah Utes.
When asked if anyone might be looking ahead to the Sept. 20 game at Michigan instead, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham retorted with a clear and concise response.
“We’ve got one thing on our mind and that’s Fresno State,” he said. “End of story.”
Whittingham added that nothing else has even been a consideration.
Since opening the season with a 56-14 win over Idaho State last Thursday, the Utes have focused on Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs. Whittingham said the extra days to get ready have been beneficial and noted that things are going “pretty good” after Tuesday’s practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“It gives us a little bit more preparation and that’s what we’ve been doing — preparing,” he said.
Whittingham isn’t putting a lot of stock in Fresno State’s 52-13 loss at USC last Saturday.
“You can’t judge everything on one game,” he said. “SC was obviously very ready to play and jumped on them early.”
The coach reminded reporters that he doesn’t believe you can get a true perspective on a team until three, four or five weeks into a season.
“Fresno State’s a good team,” Whittingham said. “They’ve won 20 games over the last two years and they know what they’re doing.”
DIFFERENT ‘DOGS: Junior linebacker Jason Whittingham isn’t expecting to see the same Fresno State team that suffered a lopsided loss in its opener.
“I think they’re going to come out a lot more angry after that loss against USC,” he said. “I saw part of that game and USC’s pretty tough, but I think Fresno State is still a good team and so we have to work hard in practice this week.”
Whittingham added that Utah’s defense needs to get the run gaps covered and get some takeaways.
“If we do those two things I’m confident we’ll have a good game,” he said.
SOLID COMEBACK: After missing the last three games of last season, junior quarterback Travis Wilson made an impressive return last Thursday. In one half of play, the starter completed 13 of 18 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
“It would have been nice to play the second half, but I’m glad the other QBs got to get in there and get some playing time,” Wilson said. “I’m really happy with my performance in the first half and that’s something I need to carry on into the next games, especially carry out into when I start playing in the second half as well.”
EXTRA POINTS: Fresno State kicker Colin McGuire has left the team and returned home to Texas to attend to personal issues with his family. The Fresno Bee also reports that walk-on freshman Kody Kroening is now the Bulldogs' kicker . . . After rushing for 78 yards and two touchdowns, plus catching a 61-yard pass in the opener, Whittingham said that junior running back Devontae Booker will “definitely be more of a factor this week.” ... Starting center Siaosi Aiono did not play against Idaho State because Whittingham “wasn’t pleased with some things.” He said Aiono will be back in the lineup this week. ... Approximately 30 members of Utah’s 1964 Liberty Bowl championship team are expected to attend Saturday’s game. The squad is being inducted into the Crimson Club Hall of Fame on Friday.
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