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Utah Utes football: Coach getting time with ESPN

Published: Tuesday, July 7 2015 12:30 p.m. MDT

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When it comes to national attention, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham admits that it's very good for the players to get recognized.
The Utes care about it, he added, they just don't discuss it.
On Tuesday, Whittingham will. He's accepted an invitation to visit ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., for appearances on several of the network's television and radio shows.
Whittingham debated about whether to go, but opted to do so because Utah has a bye week. He'll miss practice that day, something he's not done before.
"The only reason I'm going is for the program," said Whittingham, who acknowledged it was a great opportunity. "It should be a good way to represent the program and the university."
With the first BCS standings being released Sunday and an expected climb in the major polls, Whittingham will have a lot to talk about with the network.
After Saturday's 49-16 win over Colorado State, Whittingham had plenty to say about his team.
"I'm very proud of all our players," he said. "They come to work every day."
The Utes, he continued, have the right mentality and aren't overlooking anybody on game day.
RAM-TOUGH DEFENSE: The Utes defense allowed 298 yards against Colorado State, which was the third most in a game this year. However, the Utes pretty much shut down the Rams after their initial 80-yard touchdown drive to start the game. They allowed just three points and 127 yards in the second half.
Even though the Utes held the Rams to three field goals after the opening TD, it was still a game midway through the third quarter with the Rams down 28-16 and in Ute territory at the 40-yard line. That's when the Ute defense came up with a big play that turned the momentum in Utah's favor.
Defensive end Paul Kruger spun off his man and deflected a Billy Farris' pass, which traveled a few yards and was intercepted by linebacker Chaz Walker.
"I came off the edge and saw the quarterback and didn't even know he still had the ball," Kruger said. "He went to throw it and I tipped it a little bit and Chaz Walker made a huge play. I was just lucky enough to get my hand up there."
ABOUT THE SERIES: Utah's 33-point victory wasn't the largest victory ever over Colorado State (the Utes beat the Rams 55-0 in 1957), but it was the largest margin of victory since a 48-14 win in Salt Lake in 1963. In 2004, the Utes had their largest point total ever against the Rams with a 63-31 victory.
Utah has now won five of the last six against the Rams after losing five in a row between 1995 and 2002.
The Utes extended their all-time lead in the series to 51-22-2.
EIGHT-AND-OH: Utah is off to an 8-0 start for the fourth time in school history. The previous strong starts came in 1930, 1994 and 2004.
REED'S RECEPTIONS: Junior college transfer David Reed made some big contributions for the Utes. Besides catching a 33-yard touchdown pass from Brian Johnson, he made an athletic 37-yard grab on Utah's previous scoring drive.
"David Reed got more touches today," Whittingham said. "We tried to get him more involved in our offense."
MO-MENTUM: Redshirt freshman Mo Neal made quite an impression with Whittingham in the 20 snaps he played. The linebacker, who has been slowed by a knee injury, made three tackles.
"He can be an impact player in this league at some point," Whittingham said. "If he's able to develop at the rate he has."
STOPPING THE RUN: Utah's defense held CSU to just 11 yards rushing in the first quarter and 18 in the second. The Utes have now held the opposition to fewer than 20 yards on the ground in 18 of 32 quarters this season.
EXTRA POINTS: Approximately 60 recruits, all but two from the state of Utah, attended the game. They toured the football facilities prior to kickoff ... There were no bowl representatives in the press box and only one NFL scout (Kansas City Chiefs) ... The announced attendance was 44,793, about 300 shy of a sellout — something Utah had done in its three previous home games this season.


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