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January 1, 2005

Urban Meyer

Alex Smith

Kyle Whittingham


COACH URBAN MEYER: I apologize for making you wait. Tough locker room, saying good-bye to 18 seniors who played their hearts out and pass the reins to the next coach, Kyle Whittingham. I think the most amazing thing is the fact that -- is that not very often do you get a chance to go 12-0. And there's so many people involved in being 12-0. A lot of times a head football coach gets far too much credit, far too much blame but there's so many people to that, I thank you. It was a great group of seniors to be a part of. It was a great game against a very good team and I told our players, the people can take a lot from you but they can never take the fact that you're 12-0. Thanks for coming and I apologize once again for being late.

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: First thing I wanted to say, same thing I told the team just a few minutes ago, just a public vote of thanks and gratuity to Urban Meyers. When he got hired two years ago, he did not know me from Adam, he did not have to keep me. He gave me the chance to continue coaching these guys at a university that I love and that's a risk any time you keep somebody that you don't know anything about, that's a risk. I'm just indebted to him, could not have turned out any better. It's a fairy-tale season and I'm just excited to move forward and continue this program heading in the direction that it's at.

Q. Coach, forgive me for jumping right into this question but for deadline purposes inquiring minds want to know, you're leaving, what if Alex were came up to you tomorrow and said, "Coach, I think I might want to try my hand at playing on Sunday what do you think"? What would you tell him?

COACH URBAN MEYER: I would tell you what I told him. We just talked about it briefly. Tomorrow we will visit for a few minutes. We've already visited. I think the ultimate responsibility is to him and his family. If it's a first-rounder I'd say "you need to go." If it's not a first-rounder for sure, then I think he needs to come back. I've gone on record saying that. I love Alex Smith. I think he's the best quarterback in college football right now but I also know he's 20 years old and he's played a year and a half. There's a lot of things to take into consideration. The good thing is with Alex Smith and his family this is not going to be a fly-by-night decision. This is going to be a well thought out decision that's going to be made. We support him, Chris Hill supports him, whatever he decides, but I think he needs to make the right decision for the right reasons. In my opinion if it's a first round opportunity, you go; if it's not, you stay.

Q. Coming into the game, did you have an inkling that you guys could or would dominate their offensive line the way you did?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Our front has been strong all year long and we have won the line of scrimmage battle virtually every game this year and we had a good idea we matched up pretty well. We are a high-pressure team and we got off the bus blitzing, ended up with eight or nine sacks, and I cannot give enough credit to our defensive personnel. They executed the game plan flawlessly and an incredible performance and a great way to finish the season.

Q. Alex, can you just talk about that incredible third quarter and then topped off by the play of the year, the third quarter you guys looked very comfortable and looked like you were rolling?

ALEX SMITH: The first half was so awkward in that we had only three real possessions, kind of was not something we were used to, you know, them keeping the ball away from us. Half-time we didn't know how many touches we would get in the second half, and we knew we had to score on the opening drive. The opening drive is such a momentum-setter and to have the opening drive we did, 96-yard drive. And to top it off with the hook and ladder, we tried it every day for the last two weeks at least twice a day and it never worked once, and got a lot of criticism and we still called it and worked out. So, you know, credit goes to all the players. The guys up front, they don't get a lot of the attention, but they are the heart and soul of the offense, and they are the reason we've been having so much success. They are the reason we average 40-something points a game and we're 12-0. So it's all the guys up front.

Q. Alex, one of Pittsburgh's defensive linemen said earlier that it seemed like you were able to read everything that they were going to throw at you and check off at the line, what did you see and was it entirely on your shoulders to make those calls?

ALEX SMITH: To answer the last part of that, yes and no. We do some checks at the line. But a lot of it is done on the sidelines making adjustments. Didn't know what to expect. Pitt was a different defense to prepare for, they don't do a whole lot. They kind of just sit back and keep everything in front of them. They are kind of conservative. We did not know what to expect. We are such a unique style of offense, people do different things for us and it's something you get used to. This last season, every time at the opening of the game some defense has some brand new scheme for us and it became pretty obvious pretty quick that Pitt was going to pressure us and crowd the line of scrimmage, you know, to play all of the option and to play the replay, a lot of different stuff. So when they are going to do that with this offense, you're going to have some big play, and luckily the guys around me made it so easy on me.

Q. Coach Meyer, two-part question. First part is how emotional of a night is this for you to go through to compete, get the 12-0 with these guys? And what will your schedule be now in terms of leaving Utah, taking over, moving to Florida and that sort of thing?

COACH URBAN MEYER: I think it's very emotional. I think it would even be more so emotional if I didn't know that the program -- you put so much into this program. And for the amount of people, I can see Tom and other people that know exactly what went into this program that started two Januarys ago, all of the speaking, all of the work, all of the people, just trying to get them interested in Utah football, and we've done that. There's an interest in Utah football, and now that I know it's handed over to a terrific coach and he's going to put together a terrific staff, it is emotional. But it's not quite near as emotional if I knew it was ending. It's not going to end and I'm going to come back to Salt Lake and be part of this program. Coach Whitt have developed a special relationship, the same relationship that we have worked together and we're going to continue. We are both going to be coaching two programs. If I have a question about defense, I'm going to pick up the phone to Kyle, when there's some issue that comes up, there's no person I trust more than him because of his professionalism and his kind of character and the person that he is. So emotional but the fact that it's handed over to a terrific coach makes it even better. And obviously tomorrow's contact period. So you get to go home, go to sleep and go out and recruit for the next three weeks and that's what's going to happen.

Q. When you walked into the stadium tonight, what kind of feelings did you have?

COACH URBAN MEYER: It was almost breathtaking. I warned our players because I knew if our coaching staff was in awe, our players would be, as well. I don't know the number but there was -- if I had time to count, I counted over 50,000 people wearing red tonight and that was great. I'd like to thank Salt Lake City and the University of Utah. And the comments made about our fan base and student body, that's untrue. You have to show appreciation for them, give them a good product and they will come out, and they did tonight.

End of FastScriptsÂ….

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