Kyle Whittingham press conference

The Utes come off an easy win over Northern Arizona and now prepare for in-state Utah State. Head coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the media on the win and the upcoming game.

On the Win Over Northern Arizona
"It was good to get a win. We started slowly. Offensively and defensively, we didn't play very sharp early on. We had three personal fouls in the first quarter, which can't happen. It's tough to recover when you do things like that against an opponent that's going to be a more competitive situation. We've got to clean that up. Once we got that out of our system, I thought we played very well.

"The offense settled down and started executing. The receivers played better. They're not where they need to be, but it was a big improvement. As long as we keep improving each week with those guys, we'll be in a good shape. At quarterback, Brett Ratliff had a much better outing - better numbers, ran the offense much better and much cleaner. The running game was good. (Darryl) Poston and (Mike) Liti were both productive. It was a positive for the running game.

"Defensively, we gave up the touchdown early, primarily due to a roughing the passer. Again, it was an undisciplined mistake that we've got to correct. We settled down after that and proceeded to pitch a shutout the rest of the way. Tackling was better after we settled down. We had some poor tackling early in the game. But it seemed like after we got down 7-0, we settled down and played pretty good football the rest of the way.

"On special teams, Louie Sakoda was good for a second week in a row. He only punted twice, but had a 62-yard average. He was 1-of-1 on field goals and 6-of-6 on PATs, so he was perfect for the day."

On Utah State
"It is a long rivalry and is steeped in tradition. They're 0-2, but very solid against Arkansas. It was a close ballgame throughout and I thought they played well. They didn't fare so well against Wyoming the week before. It kind of got away from them a little bit late. I think they're very well-coached. We've had some great battles up in Logan over the years. We seem to get their best game every time. More times than not, it's a very competitive situation."

On Losing Shaun Harper
"It's unfortunate, we're thin at that position anyway. It's going to necessitate getting our guy Eric (Weddle) over full time at corner to make up for that."

On Biggest Concern Regarding Utah State
"Their running back is very good. Number 4 (Marcus Cross) is very good. He ran hard against Arkansas and had over 100 yards, I believe. He's elusive and he's got good size. He's a hard runner and he's got some speed and quickness. I think that's the primary concern is the tailback."

On Playing Utah State Coming Off Two Losses
"We improved from week one to week two, execution-wise. I know the level of competition was different. That's obvious and goes without saying. But we did our thing better, as far as timing, execution and so forth. We've got to get better from week to week. That's something that's got to happen. Utah State ... they've got to be excited about getting back home and having a home game. It is their home opener and is a situation like we were last week. It's good to get home after a loss - in their case a couple losses - and regroup and try to re-establish things."

On Utah's Running Game
"We rushed for over 200 yards. I think football doesn't change. You've got to stop the run to be able to win on defense and you've got to be able to run the ball on offense to win. I don't think that will ever change. We need to get in that 200-yard range on a consistent basis. If we do that, I think we'll be in good shape."

On History Running the Ball Against Utah State
"I think we match up well on the line of scrimmage. We think our lines year in and year out are if not at the top, near the top of the Mountain West Conference. I think that's been a strength of ours. That's the same thing this year. I like our front five on offense. I like our front four on defense. That's the primary reason is just the physicality we've been able to generate with the offensive line."

On Utah's Receivers
"Better. Not where I want to be. If last week we blocked at a one, this week we blocked at about a five. We need to get that up to about an eight or nine. But it was a big step in the right direction. More technique this week than effort. Last week, we just weren't excited enough about blocking. This week we were excited about it, but we need to clean up the technique."

On the Utah State Series
"I think it's healthy. I think it's a good in-state rivalry. I see no reason to discontinue it, especially now that we're in a 12-game season scenario. Everybody's looking for games and it's a natural. In-state players get to play in front of their fans one more time. So I think it is a big positive and I hope it continues."

On Utah State QB Leon Jackson III
"He's very athletic and he can hurt you with his feet. That's what he did to us last year. The quarterback run game was what did the most damage in our game. He's struggled throwing the ball the first couple games this year, but he's been up against a couple pretty good defenses. Wyoming gets after it on defense and Arkansas has got some guys who can really run around. He hasn't thrown the ball particularly well as of yet, but it is only two games into it. The element he brings is the scrambling, broken-play, make-something-happen type of thing. He's also dangerous when he runs the option."

On the Injury Situation
"I wouldn't say overly concerned, but somewhat concerned. We're more banged up at this point than at this same time last year. But injuries are a part of the game. We're not going to sit and moan about it and cry about it. Everyone has them. We've just got to deal with them as they occur. There's nothing we can do about it. There's no waiver wire. There's no trade we can make or anything like that. We'll survive."

Ute Zone Top Stories