Whittingham on Wyoming

Utah is coming off a big win over TCU but now have to go on the road for a MWC test. Kyle Whittingham met with the media on Monday to give his thoughts.

On Last Week's Win Over TCU
"I'm very proud of the way our team bounced back and played on Thursday night. They had a short turnaround after a tough game and regrouped. They did a fantastic job of coming out and playing with passion. The execution level was good. I just couldn't be prouder of a group of guys than I was last week.

"Some keys to our victory ... Number-one, offensively, we ran the football very effectively, relative to the defense we were facing. They were giving up in the neighborhood of 70 yards a game rushing. I think they had not given up more than 80 for seven straight games. We put 130-something yards of rushing together, which was very positive. We defended the run, held them under 100 yards rushing. We took care of the football on offense. Only one turnover, although it was in the red zone and we've got to solve that problem. That's two weeks in a row we've turned the ball over in the red zone.

"Defensively, we got three takeaways. We're second in the country in takeaways. Other than final score, that's the name of the game. I'm very pleased with how the defense is giving the offense the ball back and in short-field situations.

"Louie Sakoda ... another fine week of placekicking. He was perfect on his PATs and missed one field goal, it was the 50-yarder right at the end of the first half. It was a good effort, he just hooked it a little bit left. He punted well. We're still in the top five in the nation in net punting. He was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week and deservedly so. Special teams was a positive for us again. We won the field position battle in the special teams area."

On Wyoming
"Wyoming is a tough opponent and it is always a tough road trip up to Laramie. They're playing extremely well on defense. They are fourth in the country right now in total defense and first in the country in pass defense. They're playing hard on defense. Their scheme is very good. They're executing the scheme very well. They are coming off a good win against New Mexico at New Mexico. So they're feeling good about themselves right now. We've got to go up there, once again, and play with passion, play with emotion and play our best football to have a chance."

On Differences in Wyoming's Defense From Last Season
"(They're) not markedly (different). They're playing some more odd front than in the years past. But moreso than anything, they're just playing hard. They're tough, they have some players who are very tough individuals. They're playing their scheme to a T. They are executing what their coaches are designing for them."

On Wyoming's Pass Defense
"The secondary is playing well, only giving up 106 yards passing per week, or something like that. But pass defense always starts at the line of scrimmage. You've got to have a good pass rush. They have a nice zone blitz scheme. The sum of their parts is playing very well. Their 11 guys on defense are playing very well as a unit."

On Wyoming's Opponents and Their Record
"They've played all Division I-A opponents. They've had an overtime and a double overtime. They've been competitive in each and every game. The won-loss record is not indicative of how good a football team they are."

On Utah Not Allowing a Sack Through Six Games
"When we talk about sacks, I keep mentioning the offensive line, but it is more than just them. It is the backs in the blitz pickup. They're doing a fine job in the blitz pickup, targeting the right blitzer. The quarterback is doing a great job getting the ball out of his hand. The receivers are getting open for the most part. It is more than just the o-line. But the o-line is the focal point, there's no doubt about it. Six games in without a sack is pretty impressive. How long the streak goes is really irrelevant. It's our wins that are all that matter. But they're doing a good job getting Brett (Ratliff) time and that was another key to our win Thursday."

On Offensive Play-Calling with This Offensive Line
"I think it has a great effect. Coach Lud(wig) has no worries if people bring pressure. He knows we'll get it picked up. They (offensive line) are doing equally as well in the run game. We're averaging 4.6 yards per carry, which is tied for first in the conference with Air Force. Any time you can run the ball as efficiently as Air Force does, you're doing something pretty good."

On Wyoming's Offense
"The scheme has changed very little, offensively. It is just different players. They've changed quarterbacks and gone with the lefty. You throw in their tape from last year and you throw in a tape from this year and there is very little change as far as play selection, routes that type of thing."

On What He Tells the Team About Going to Laramie
"It's a hostile environment. Those fans get after you. It's a great crowd. It's a crowd that if you're Wyoming, you love it. It is an advantage for them. They love football. They are very football-savvy up in Wyoming. It's just a tough place to play."

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