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Kyle Whittingham, Utah Utes Head Football Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
October 18, 2022 9:31 pm

Kyle Whittingham, Utah Utes Head Football Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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October 18, 2022 9:31 pm

Kyle Whittingham joined Zach to discuss his emotions after beating USC and how the team was able to bounce back after their tough loss to UCLA the week before. 

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The week continuing is the Zach Gelb Show Coast to Coast on CBS Sports Radio. What a win for Utah last weekend.

They're now 15th in the country as they're fresh off a 43 to 42 comeback victory over USC. Now joining us is head football coach of the defending PAC-12 champions, the Utah Utes, and that of course is Kyle Whittingham. Coach, I always appreciate when you come on with us. Thanks for the time. Congrats on the win and how you've been.

You bet. Appreciate you having me on and we're doing pretty good right now. So we got, you know, a bye week which comes at a great time for us and then we are heading up to Pullman to play Washington State Cougars next week. I remember when you joined us in the offseason right before the start of the year. You talked about your quarterback Cam Rising and you were saying how much of a great leader he is and how much heart he just shows each and every week.

That was on full display on Saturday night. He put the team on his back, had five total touchdowns. Just how do you put that performance a few days later into words? Oh, it was spectacular. I mean he was responsible for 450, 60, 70 yards of total offense somewhere in that range and as you mentioned, such a great leader for us.

The leader of the leaders on our football team and Cam Rising is the catalyst for everything we do on offense. Now you were aggressive. You elected to go for two. I was screaming on my couch, go for two, go for two.

You did so. I don't think I had an influence in that to be clear, but take me through the decision to go for two in the win right there. Yeah, we had taken over the ball with six minutes or so left in the game and talked to our offensive coordinator, Andy Lublin. He said, now if we if we're able to work this ball down the field and get in the end zone and the clock is under a minute, you know, then we're going to most likely go for two. So have a play in mind and as it turned out, that exact scenario came up.

We got I think it was 40, 45 seconds left when we scored that last touchdown and so that decision had already been made and, you know, Andy dialed up the play and Cam dropped back and the route structure really was covered up so he tucked the ball and, you know, in Cam Rising fashion found a way to get in the end zone and that proved to be the game winner. I'm just curious, you guys still are in play to defend your Pac-12 crown, but there were college football playoff expectations before the year now at two losses. If you guys only had one loss, you undefeated, is that a different decision there? Does that maybe factor into it at all?

No, I don't think so. I think based on the the ebb and flow of that game on Saturday night and it was really a scoring contest. I mean, both offenses were extremely productive. I think we both ended up with, you know, over 550 yards and obviously a bunch of points and so that was a decision that, you know, we just felt was the right one and, and, you know, as it turned out it was right. Now you don't, you're not always right making those decisions.

Sometimes the backfires on you, but in this particular case it was, it worked out for us. Kyle Whittingham from number 15 Utah here with us, the head coach for the Utes. You've gone up against some great quarterbacks this year, Dorian Thompson Robinson, Anthony Richardson, and then on Saturday night Caleb Williams. What stood out to you the most about Caleb Williams?

Wow, what a competitor. He's got such a great skill set. I mean his arm strength is phenomenal. He's got an arm that can make every throw. He's extremely difficult to sack. You know, we did sack him four times, but he's so strong and so elusive that, you know, he's a tough out when you try to sack him. Exceptional runner, you know, he pulled the ball down a few times and did some real damage running the football, and so he's a terrific quarterback. He's one of the best in the country, and you're right, we've played, you know, now a bunch of really good quarterbacks and guys that are tough to defend, and he certainly is one of them. Was he the toughest quarterback to defend for you guys this year? I think each of them brings something different to the table. You know, he's, he certainly has the ability to, to hurt you a bunch of different ways, and, and he does a great job taking care of the football. I think he's only thrown one interception the whole season, so he's, he does a great job, you know, protecting the ball, and, but each of those three guys really bring a little bit something different, but, but it's hard to sit here and say, okay, it's one, two, and three.

I can just tell you that each one has their challenges. Kyle Whittingham here with us. So when you guys picked up that second loss after the UCLA game, did you have to refocus your team leading into USC, or was it just a quick move it, flush it, and, and those kids were locked in laser focus?

I'd say a little bit of both. You know, we had to, you know, we had a team meeting and talked about where we were and that, hey, all our goals as far as trying to repeat his Pac-12 champs were still right there in front of us, and, and, but the margin for error had cut down to virtually zero, and so we had to be at our best, and it starts, you know, one week at a time, and starting with, with the Trojans, we knew that was a big challenge, but our guys did a great job of putting the game behind us, the UCLA game, and, and moving on and having a great week of preparation and, and going into that game with the exact right mindset. I mean, we were, we were passionate, we had a lot of energy, and it showed during the course of the game. I've been loving the Pac-12 this year, Coach. I know nationally sometimes it doesn't get a lot of spotlight and praise as it should, but I think the conference has been unbelievable this year. I, I agree.

I agree. We've got a bunch of good teams and, and that can work against you, because once again, we may cannibalize each other and, and end up, you know, beating each other up, and, and, you know, of course that doesn't bode well for, for the CFP, you know, implications or possibilities, but, but I agree with you. I think the, the middle of the conference, especially from the last few years, has really elevated, and there's, you know, six or seven teams that are, that are really playing good football.

It was very fitting on Saturday. We talked about Cam and how he stepped up to the occasion, also Dalton Kincaid with 234 yards and that big score. Just what did you see out of Dalton?

I know it's no surprise to you, but that was one great performance. It was, and Dalton is one of the best tight ends in the nation, and I don't think, you know, a lot of people really appreciate how good he is, and, and that was on full display Saturday night. He was a featured part of the offense in this game and, and will be, you know, every game, obviously, but, but really Cam and him started connecting early, and it didn't stop. I mean, we just had 16 targets and 16 catches, and that's, that's incredible. And then to have 230 plus yards, you know, was just a huge, huge plus for our team, and, and Dalton is a fierce competitor, and not only that, he's just an absolute tremendous athlete, and, you know, maybe there's an argument he's the best athlete on our team overall. I mean, he's that, he's an athletic. And there's no doubt he's gonna be making plays on Sunday soon, right? I don't think there's any question about that.

Anyway, six-four and a half, six-four and a quarter, about 245 pounds. He's a prototypical tight end in that league as far as I'm concerned. Did you ever understand why Devin Lloyd fell in the draft?

Because he's on pace coach in his rookie year to have 160 tackles. We saw all the mock drafts, top 15, top 15, and he ended up falling towards the end of the first round. Yeah, I was shocked. I couldn't believe it, and I think he's proven a bunch of teams wrong right now. Like he said, I mean, his production is off the charts, and I couldn't believe that all those teams just kept, you know, the draft choices just kept ticking by, and he was a bargain. Where they got him was an absolute steal. And like I said, he's making a lot of people disappointed right now that they didn't take him. Who's Devin Lloyd the person, just wondering?

Incredible. One of the best leaders that we've had come through here, one of the hardest workers, self-made guy, came in here with a safety and wide receiver background really out of high school. He was a skilled player, but had the frame and the length, you know, just the makeup that we felt. He was a projection as a linebacker for us, so it wasn't something that took us by surprise. That was our projection when we recruited him, and he was a tremendous player for us, great leader, and, you know, just the kind of guy you'd love to have in your program. On the way out with Kyle Winningham from Utah, what we saw on Saturday is everything that is right with college football.

The crowd was unbelievable. When you were walking off the field, what's just going through your mind in front of all that chaos and all that mayhem? Yeah, just trying to enjoy the moment and savor it because those moments don't come around, you know, all the time. I mean, those are pretty special situations and occasions and just to take it all in, and that's what I was trying to do is just soak it in, soak it up, and I was so happy for our players and, you know, to see them, you know, fight tooth and nail every step of the way and to come out on top was extremely gratifying.

Yeah, I'd be remiss before we let you run. We talked about Cam, we talked about Dalton. Is there another player, too, that you want to highlight from what they displayed on Saturday? You know, the offensive line as a whole, I would say.

You know, we went into that game and SC was the national leader in sacks, and we threw the ball 45 plus times and didn't give up one sack, and so I think the offensive line was terrific, and they're always the unsung heroes, but they're the ones that gave Cam the time and the opportunity to put up all those numbers, and so I would say that the offensive line needs a little bit of a shout out. Well, Coach, always do appreciate the time. Always love our conversations. Thanks so much for jumping on and good luck the rest of the way. Okay, appreciate you having me on.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-22 23:24:06 / 2022-11-22 23:29:02 / 5

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