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November 5, 2021

Kyle Whittingham

Stanford, California, USA

Postgame Media Conference

Utah 52, Stanford 7

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Obviously proud of our guys and the way they played the game tonight. Started fast. Never really let up. Offensively just kept executing and doing things the way they're supposed to be done. All first half defense smothered them, played exceptional. The statistics at halftime were so skewed. I don't know how we could play much better than we did.

But we were hitting on all cylinders tonight. Run game was in high gear. That was really the key to the game, was our ability to run the football efficiently and effectively and for a bunch of yards.

Then we did turn the ball over once, but other than that, we took care of it. Like I said, we played smothering defense. Had the shut-out at halftime and put a nice drive together in the second half, but then we stiffened up and played well in the end.

Had a chance to play a lot guys, which as of positive. A lot of guys got experience in this game. Helps us obviously in the position we're in in the conference, but we got a lot more work to do. There is games left, plenty of games left, and so we don't focus on that, but it's something certainly we're aware of.

Give players a weekend off, Saturday, Sunday off, bring them in Monday morning at 7:00 a.m. and get going on the next guys.


Q. You elected to go for offense again to start the game. With this group of guys, is this kind of maybe to your advantage now?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: We thought tonight it was, and last week as well obviously. They've been playing with such confidence on that side of the ball and the execution level has been so high that we figured that it was another good opportunity to start fast and see if we can put points on the board in the first drive.

Q. What did you see on Devin's pick six?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: It was incredible. I saw it happen in real time and watched the replay and still couldn't believe that he could have the reflexes and the athleticism to make that catch, and then find his way into the end zone. It was only couple yards, but that's who he is. He's a big play guy.

Q. What does that say about the depth of your running back room?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, we feel really good about the running back room, like we been saying all year. It's the point now with Tavion is the lead back. He is the primary ball carrier and he is going to get the most carries most weeks, barring unforeseen circumstances.

Micah Bernard and TJ Pledger both added some big plays, and Chris Curry came in and showed what he could do in the second half. He did a nice job. We feel we've got a good stable of backs, and they're doing a great job for us right now.

Q. You guys have never lost here. Can you conceptualize that and try to figure out what's worked so well for you guys here?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: You know, that's tough to answer. We been here, what, four times since Pac-12 and another time or two prior to the Pac-12. Anyway, I don't have a great answer for you on that. We seem to have played well against Stanford. I think they're probably the team we've played the least until the Pac-12 since we joined.

Anyway, our guys, for whatever reason, have played well when we play Stanford. I think part of is they get fired up for the game because they know it's two of the more physical teams in the conference. They're a lot like us as far as what they pride themselves on and what they hang their hat on. I think our guys understand and respect that and want to make sure that we let them know that we play with physicality as well.

Q. Obviously running was working tonight. Was Cam maybe a little less sharp than he's been?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: I don't know if I would say that. His numbers weren't as prolific because we didn't throw the ball much. Had we been more committed to the throw game and just had more reps at it, I think he would've put up the numbers that we've been seeing the last three, four weeks.

Q. Halftime with that 38-0 lead, did you see what you wanted to see from the guys in terms their mentality and aggressiveness, or you're kind of fighting against complacency?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, I would say except for the first drive of Stanford's. They did a nice job that first drive. Other than that, we held ourselves back in on defense, and offensively you would love to score every single possession, but we had a couple possessions, two or three possessions, with the ones in there where we didn't score in the second half.

But I think given the circumstances and how things played out, I think it was a positive second half for us.

Q. Given the outcome of that game, is there anything in general that sticks out to you after that meeting?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Well, offensive line I think has continued to get better and better each week, so that was a positive. The tight ends were terrific. Wide receivers made plays. Special teams got some yardage. In the punt return game, Covey got some things going there. We only had to punt the one time, so that was good. The less you punt the better.

And then the kickoff game, I think our kickoff coverage continues to be improved, vastly improved from what we saw earlier in the year.

Q. (No microphone.)

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: He was tonight. I would say the competition, and when you got guys that are fairly similar in spots, the guy that's playing the best is going to get the opportunity.

Q. That's a fluid situation?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Fluid situation. Yeah, yeah.

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