Insider Look: Kyle Whittingham

In the ever unpredictable Arizona State coaching search process a new and surprising name has to come to light in the last 48 hours – Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, who has been in contact with the Sun Devils concerning this position and gaining much traction. Devils Digest invited Brian Swinney, Publisher of InsideTheUtes.com to talk about this ASU coaching candidate.

Devil Digest : Nobody expected Kyle Whittingham's name to come up in ASU's coaching search, but sure enough right now he is a very viable candidate. What is your reaction to this news?

Brian Swinney: "It is surprising and I just don't see him leaving this job. He has a great situation here. He is Mormon, played for BYU and has very strong ties to the area. I think he still wants to see what this Utah team can do in the Pac-12 and if he can build them up into a Pac-12 program. In the last couple of years other schools have asked him to give them an interview and he refused. We'll see what happens. I guess anything is possible."

Devil Digest: How would you assess the job performance of Whittingham, especially with Utah playing in its first season in the Pac-12?

Brian Swinney: "I think he's doing a great job. He's a disciplinarian and doesn't take nonsense from anybody. None of the players mess around and if they do he doesn't let them get away with it. I think he's a great X's and O's coach. I do think he's one of the top 15 coaches in the country. He's a player's coach, his staff really likes him and he's a very honest guy. He doesn't like to throw a lot of fluff out there. He is very straight forward with his players and does put his players in the best position to succeed. He's a great talent evaluator that can turn a two-star guy into a player who goes in the NFL draft. "

Devil Digest: Would you say because of his defensive background that he is hands off when it comes to the offense?

Brian Swinney: "His strength is definitely on defense, but he spends a lot of time in practice watching the offense. They are running a new system with a new coordinator so he wants to make sure everything was running alright. But it's really just overseeing the offense."

Devil Digest: How would you describe the defensive system that he runs at Utah?

Brian Swinney: "He runs a 4-3. It all starts with the defensive line. They like having big defensive tackles who weigh 300 or more pounds. Usually they get some Polynesian kids at that position, that come off a (LDS) Mission and they had a chance to bulk up in those two years that they were away. He wants smart linebackers that can anticipate and read the offense. But this isn't a bend but not break defense. They are really aggressive throwing a lot of different blitzes and doing a great job disrupting timing of the quarterbacks.

"Their linebackers were undersized and sometime got pushed around a little bit and have a hard time being able to always shed their blocks really well. But these linebackers will be bigger next year and they do a good job tackling and wrapping up. "

Devil Digest:? How do feel Whittingham has done in recruiting, especially this being their first year in the Pac-12

Brian Swinney: "There are recruiting limitations. The state doesn't produce a ton of good talent. People outside of Utah hear stories about the Mormon religion and because they don't really know it they are afraid to come there. Last year was their best class ever and this class will be even better and go down as the best class ever had and blow away last year's class. This place doesn't work for everybody and some kids don't like what Utah provides. So this coaching staff recognizes that quickly and don't waste their time on a lot of recruits who just wants to come out here for a trip. They do a good job picking up on this and they usually don't use all of the official visit allotment because they are so picky.

"On a scale of 1-10 with all the limitations Utah has a school I would give Whittingham an 8 or a 9. He does a really good job in recruiting."


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