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November 13, 2010

Kyle Whittingham

UTAH – 3

COACH WHITTINGHAM: Okay, tough loss. Notre Dame deserves a great deal of credit. They had a great game plan going in, they knew what they had to do and did what they needed to do to win the football game. They made the plays when they were there to be made. We weren't able to do that.
Came out minus two on the turnover margin. Again, against a team like Notre Dame, that is the same issue we had last week. We were minus three last week, and minus two this week. Had a punt blocked. Entirely too many penalties.
So a lot of things on our part that we did very poorly. But, again, Notre Dame did a nice job. They were obviously had the time off in between, and did a great job of retooling a few things and being prepared for this football game. Credit goes to them. Questions?

Q. How do you think their freshman quarterback held up today?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Very well. They did a great job of putting him in situations to succeed. They didn't ask a bunch of throws of him down the field. When they did, they did a nice job. Defensively gave up 250-something yards which is usually good enough to win most weeks.
But when you're struggling on offense like we are right now. That's two games in a row that we've struggled, and scored one touchdown in eight quarters of football now in the last two weeks. Like I said, turned the ball over twice and had a punt blocked. You combine that with a nice game plan, solid game plan by Notre Dame on offense to, you know, make the most of what they have available to them right now, that was the outcome.

Q. How has your team's confidence level changed over the last two weeks?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, we were riding high. Had eight in a row, and now we've dropped the last two ballgames and right now not feeling real good about ourselves. I can tell you that.
But nobody feels sorry for us. We've got two games left. We've got to rebound. Everybody's got to search and decide what they can do to make us a better football team as individuals. Take care of what they're able to control and then move forward. But right now we're reeling a little bit right now.

Q. You mentioned Notre Dame's use of the bye. Can you point to things that were indicative of a team having a an a week off?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, I think they did a nice job with the freshman quarterback. That was the thing offensively that they did, like I said. Gave him not too much on his plate. Enough to move the football and get the points they needed to win the football game.
But they didn't stress him, which was, you know, very smart, obviously. Then the biggest, the single biggest factor of the game, if you ask what the single biggest factor of the game was our ineptness on offense. That was the biggest factor as far as a single factor.

Q. What happened on the blocked punt?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, it looked like -- by the way, there is no replay board in there. I don't know if you noticed that. So usually I can go to the replay board and get an idea of what happened and what the break down was. But I think it came from the far edge.
We were in the scheme where we were punting to our right. So we let the end guy on the far left go, and I think our splits might have been a little bit too tight and little bit too short of a corner there.
We held the ball too long getting it out, and great athletic play by the Notre Dame defender. But until I see the film, I can't tell you for certain. But I think after talking to the players on that side, I think that's what happened.

Q. Then to start the second half, how deflating was the fumble?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: That was the exact opposite of what we had hoped to accomplish in the second half. We talked about 14-3. We came out and put one on the board, it's 14-10 and it's a ballgame.
We proceed to fumble the opening kickoff and one play later they're in the end zone. That was very deflating right there.
But we were able to rally up a little bit on defense. We only gave up one touchdown the rest of the way and played decently. Like I said, the numbers are pretty good. Got a little soft there in the end on defense, particularly the run game in the late third and fourth quarter.

Q. Can you talk more about the run game you're typically a pretty solid one-two punch for you?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, running 100 yards for a second week in a row. And we have 70-something yards and it's tough to win games. If you can't establish balance in your offense and run efficiently, it makes everything difficult. That's two weeks in a row now we were not able to do that. Credit Notre Dame's front seven. They've got a big, physical front seven. Manti Te'o's a heck of a ballplayer. Those four down guys, three down guys do a nice job. The kid next to Manti is a physical kid as well. And they've got a very stout front seven on defense.

Q. What did they do defensively to kind of throw you guys off track?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Nothing really different. I'd have to watch the tape to give you specifics. But at face value there were no wholesale changes. They've been playing pretty good defense this year.
I don't know what the situation was for us and what the issue was. But like you said, that's two weeks in a row now that we've had very, very subpar performances. So they were just playing sound, getting off blocks. You know, the backers were filling holes. We had a counter game that had been very good to us the first eight ballgames and couldn't get any of that in the way because of the front seven. Just their play. The fundamentals and techniques of the front seven.

Q. Coach, you touched on it earlier when you said their physicalness up front. What did you see in their physical play and how did that impact your team on your execution?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Our offense and defensive front? Yeah, I don't think we ever had control on the line of scrimmage. Like I said, they're big physical guys and they've got 245 pound inside linebackers linebackers that will come up and smack you. The front does a nice job with their technique and staying square. Same things we saw on tape. We just weren't productive today. They did a nice job.

Q. Coach, Jordan struggled a little bit in the last couple of games. Were you thinking of making a change earlier?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, you know, the thought crossed my mind. It crossed my minds last week, and crossed my mind this week. That's something we've got to evaluate. We've got to dissect that fill and take a look at where we're at in that position.
It's not that position though. Last week was a myriad of things, and this week was not as problematic across the board. But that's some place that we have to perform. I don't care what level of football you're at, that is a key position. And you've got to have performance and production. And that's a couple weeks in a row now we haven't been able to get as much as we needed to.

Q. I noticed Jordan took a hard hit. Was it cramps there at the end?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: He should be okay. Hopefully there's no residual effects there.

Q. Your program has gone to incredible heights and you've had few bumps in the road. At this point based on where you were a couple of weeks ago, how surprised are you? I know the level of competition went up, but you had to have a level of confidence going into last week and this week?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Well, we did. But we were fully aware that the degree of difficulty got higher as the season went on. We weren't tooting our own horn. I think we had all the answers, at least tried not to portray that.
We knew that TCU followed by Notre Dame on the road was going to be a tough stretch, and we're going to San Diego next week. We have no feeling or attitude. We had all the answers that, hey, we're a dominant team. We had beaten a lot of teams that we should have beaten and that a tough stretch was coming up, and we haven't played well in successive weeks.
Like I said, that's where we're at. We have two ballgames to go. One on the road and one at home. Still could can turn out to be a very good season, but we have our issues to work through right now.

Q. Coach, you had a lot of early penalties. Talk about how that set the table?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, that was another big factor that led to our demise. I think we had nine penalties in the first quarter. And that was, you know, we kept taking a step forward and two steps back kind of situation, false starts, a pass interference. We had a lot of penalties.
You know, we started the season a little bit sloppy with penalties and then we had a stretch of about six games where we were 40 yards or less, I think. Then today it resurfaced, so that was a factor. We've got to play more disciplined football.

Q. Sean sell win had a very uncharacteristic game punting wise. What were the factors in that?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Good question. We had one blocked early, I don't know if that rattled him the rest of the way. But typically he's been very consistent and a solid punter for us. He has a lot of ability. We haven't given up on him by any means.
But it was a game where the field position battle, we did not win the field position battle in the punt game. We just have to keep working at it, and I'm sure he'll rebound.

Q. What can you do or what would you have to do to help Jordan win right now?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Well, we've got to dissect the entire film, obviously. Hasn't just been Jordan. I talked last week about if a quarterback has nowhere to go with the ball, what's he supposed to do?
So it's a team effort. We have to do a better job in protection and getting open. But as far as Jordan specifically, we have to dissect the tape, go through it play-by-play. Is he going through his reprogressing correctly? Is he making the right decisions? And make a determination on the best course of action is.

Q. Can you talk about being at Notre Dame, most of the guys this is their one and only time they've been here. Maybe at halftime in the locker room did you galvanize that either beforehand or at halftime?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: First of all, I'll say this is a fantastic place. For my first time here and I'm walking away completely impressed with how this crowd and everybody here handles themselves. It's a first class program, it's a first class university. I've got nothing but positive things to say about my experience here.
Did we talk a lot about Notre Dame tradition and so forth? No. We're playing those 11 guys on the field right there. We're not playing Joe Montana or Joe Theismann or all these great players that have been through here. We're focused on the 11 that are out there, and the 11 out there ended up being pretty good. Thank you.

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