One On One With Kyle Whittingham- Part 1 of 3

In part one of our three part interview, InsideTheUtes sat down for a one on one with Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham to reflect on 2010, Jordan Wynn injury and how that affects the quarterback situation, the offensive play calling, coaching changes, Brian Blechen, and more...

Looking back to last season, there were a few disappointments despite ten wins with not winning the conference, not winning your bowl game, and a few losses in big games. But what were some of the successes from last year that you can build on going into 2011?

Well first of all we won ten games. That's the bottom line. You judge the season in its entirety. You don't worry about, well we lost this game early or that game late. That irrelevant. What's relevant is the season in its entirety and we were able to win 10 football games for the third year in a row, which is a very good accomplishment for our players. We had a lot of good individual performances. Matt and Eddie did a nice job at running back gaining over 1,400 yards between the two of them. Defensively I thought we played well from start to finish. We had a some big plays on special teams throughout the course of the year, Shaky Smithson and what he did for us in the return game. So overall, a very positive year. We did drop three ball games, two of them to top 10 teams and the other one to a Notre Dame team that seemed to get better and better as the season wore on. It's never going to be considered a great season unless we're able to win the conference championship, but we'll label it a very good season.

The offense seemed to hit somewhat of a wall towards the end of the season.

We ran into some good defenses If you play two top ten seasons and lose to them in games 1 and 2, that's not different than losing to them in games 9 and 10. You judge it all on its entirety That is the bottom line. At least that's my philosophy.

Jordan Wynn struggled towards the end of the season. I know a lot of that had to do with the injury. Is he still your definitive starter and what are you guys going to do with the quarterback situation going into spring ball and into fall camp?

Jordan will not be available in spring ball so that's a negative with our team and obviously for him He should have a full recovery and start throwing by May. Spring ball we'll be a little bit lean at quarterback. We'll have Griff Robles taking the snaps with the ones. We'll also have a young freshman (Tyler Shreve) that will be in, and until they're here we can't say their name. Bottom line is we'll be thin at quarterback during spring, but the guys that are getting the reps will hopefully take full advantage of that and progress.

The offensive play calling towards the end of the season has been highly criticized.

Easiest person to criticize on any team is the offensive coordinator so I don't really put any stock into what anybody says about that.

Are there going to be any changes going into the Pac 10 in terms of scheme or anything like that?

We tweak things every year. We modify and we update. Based on your personnel coming back and your personnel coming in you want to make sure you take full advantage of maximizing your personnel. That's what coaching is all about, is maximizing your personnel that you have available. And that is something we try and do each and every year.

Will Aaron Roderick still be calling the plays in 2011?

Everything is being evaluated. There are no definitives in football at all.

Where does Dave Schramm fit going forward?

I don't want to talk about staff. That's nobody's business.

You guys lost John Pease and obviously you are evaluating candidates. You are going to replace someone on the defensive line and bring in somebody?

Most likely. We have flexibility. We have lots of coaches on staff that are very capable of coaching several positions. We're going to get the best fit for that. If that means bringing in another defensive line coach, that's what we'll do. If that means moving someone currently on the staff to defensive line and hiring a different position coach then we'll do that as well. That's something we are in no hurry to do. Recruiting is the top priority right now. We will not address the defensive line hire until most likely after signing day after signing day.

Going into the Pac 12 you're going to be facing a more pass happy conference. Does that mean anything with a change in schemes? I know there has been some talk of getting more speed on the field at times. Look at a team like Oregon that's fast. USC is fast. USC and UCLA have a lot of athletes. Are there possible changes in scheme coming up?

Well, you always want to become as fast a football team as you can and that's been a priority for several years now. That's the way the game has evolved. The most important factor that is there. There are some teams in the Pac 12 that throw the ball exceptionally well. We feel our scheme is very good defensively. It's stood the test of time and held up against all different types of offensive attacks. The real key is not the X's and O's, it's the players. Continuing to upgrade the upgrade the personnel is the most important thing we have on our plate last year, and that's what college football is all about. College football is all about players. It's not about coaching. It's all about players.

Brian Blechen. A lot of highs and lows in 2010. What are the plans for him in 2011?

Well he's a big kid, he's 6 foot 2, he's got a big frame. He's already 215 pounds. Our projection is he'll probably be close to 225-230 by next fall, at which you start to outgrow the safety position when you start getting that kind of size. With his physicality, and the way he uses his hands and deals with blockers, we're going to take a look at him at linebacker and see how he fares at that position. As a safety, often times you're in the box, and so he's not starting at square one. Some of his job description as a safety has been to be almost like a fourth linebacker in the box and he's done a very good job whenever he's been asked to do that. His skill set is such that he may develop into a premier linebacker. That's not to say that's it's a definitive move, but we're going to take a look at that.

Check back to in the coming days for parts 2 and 3.

Ute Zone Top Stories