Tom Smart, Deseret News
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham during warmups as the Univeristy of Utah and Arizona State University play PAC 12 football Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Tempe, Arizona.
I think (Riley)'s a phenomenal football coach...He is really, in my opinion, the dean of the Pac-12 coaches. —Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State coach Mike Riley has Kyle Whittingham's respect.

"He is really, in my opinion, the dean of the Pac-12 coaches. He's the guy that has a wealth of knowledge and I've got the utmost respect for him," Whittingham said. "In the meetings, I hang on every word he says."

Whittingham added that Riley fills a role, for him, similar to that of Fisher DeBerry (Air Force) and Sonny Lubick (Colorado State) back in the day in the Mountain West Conference.

"I think he's a phenomenal football coach," Whittingham said. "Yeah, (the Beavers) were down last year but he's got them right back up and playing great football. He's got that thing going right now."

Oregon State enters Saturday's game against Utah ranked eighth in the nation with a 5-0 record. The Beavers were just 3-9 last season.

WILSON'S PREPARATION: Utah linebacker Trevor Reilly believes true freshman quarterback Travis Wilson's playing career at San Clemente High School in Southern California has prepared him well for the challenges ahead.

"A lot of the guys he played against are on these Pac-12 teams, a lot of them are starting as freshmen," Reilly said. "He played a high caliber of high school football and it translates over here."

Reilly, a junior from Valley Center, Calif., added that the Utes are ready to follow Wilson into battle.

"I think he's pretty tough both physically and mentally," Reilly said. "I think he can lead us. I think he's a guy who can really help us win games."

EXTRA POINTS: Oregon State leads the all-time series with Utah, 9-6-1. … The Utes are just 1-4-1 in Corvallis. … It's homecoming at OSU. … Utah has scored touchdowns on three fumble recoveries for the first time since 2003. … The Beavers wear an "FT 92" sticker on their helmets in memory of defensive tackle Fred Thompson, who died of natural causes last December.

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