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Utah Utes football notebook: Kyle Whittingham, Utes seeking solution to turnover issues

Published: Friday, Sept. 4 2015 12:54 a.m. MDT

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham on the sideline during the second half as the University of Utah faces Arizona State in NCAA football in Salt Lake City, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham on the sideline during the second half as the University of Utah faces Arizona State in NCAA football in Salt Lake City, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — So, who's to blame for Utah's five turnovers in Saturday's 35-15 loss to Arizona State?

An inexperienced quarterback? An overly excited offense playing in the Pac-12? The MUSS?

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham didn't hesitate in his response.

"Put it on the coaches," he said. "Put the turnovers on the coaches. We've got to coach it better."

The Utes have turned the ball over 10 times in their last two games. They lost just three over the first three games of the season.

"We can't win any games turning the ball over five times," Whittingham said. "We can't do it."

Whittingham added that "he's all ears at this point" in finding an immediate solution. If there was an obvious remedy, he said, it would have been done already.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham put the responsibility for the turnovers on the coaching staff after a 35-14 loss.   (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham put the responsibility for the turnovers on the coaching staff after a 35-14 loss. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

"I'm not ever going to point fingers at the players. We've got to coach it better," Whittingham said when asked if it was mental or physical thing. "We've got to coach things better and that is the stance we're taking. We've got to coach better."

To his recollection, he has never seen such a rash of turnovers.

PRAISE FOR UTAH: Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson had kind things to say about the Utes in his postgame remarks.

"We knew we were going to get everything from them. They're a good football program," Erickson said. "They're very physical and they're very tough. Obviously their quarterback (Jordan Wynn) was hurt, but they gave it to us early and we fought back."

NEW GOAL: With the Pac-12 South title all but officially out of reach, Whiittingham acknowledged the Utes have altered their primary objective.

"We've got to regroup. Right now our modified goal is to get a win," he said. "We've lost two in a row now. It seems like we've lost 10 in a row. That's how I feel, but we've got to find a way to get back in the win column."

INJURY UPDATE: Several Utes were injured including wide receiver DeVonte Christopher (leg), return specialist Charles Henderson (knee), safety Keith McGill (shoulder), linebacker Jacoby Hale (knee) and running back Tauni Vakapuna (ankle). Updates on their conditions are expected on Monday.

"We've got an injury list that we've got to deal with," Whittingham said. "But nobody cares. Nobody feels sorry for you. You've just got to move forward."

SPECIAL GUESTS: There were some familiar faces on the sidelines for the game, including Paul Kruger of the Baltimore Ravens. He took advantage of a bye week to return to his alma mater and watch brother Dave and Joe Kruger play for the Utes.

"It's always a good time to come back home here in Salt Lake and spend some time with the family and all my friends and stuff," Kruger said.

EXTRA POINTS: The attendance was 45,089. … ASU now leads the all-time series with Utah, 17-6. The Sun Devils have won the past eight meetings between the two schools. … The Utes have now lost five of their past six games against ranked opponents. … Scouts from the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks were in the press box. … Utah's "Varsity Club" held its seventh-annual reunion on Friday with approximately 400 former student-athletes in attendance.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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