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July 26, 2011

Tony Bergstrom

Kyle Whittingham


COACH WHITTINGHAM: On behalf of the University of Utah, first thing I'd like to say is we're ecstatic about the opportunity to join the Pac-12 Conference. It's something that's been talked about in Salt Lake City for a lot of years, even back when it was the Pac-8, going that far back.
So it's something that's very exciting for the university, for the community, and big challenges lie ahead. We're fully aware that the Pac-12 is a good conference, lot of good football teams. But with big challenge comes big opportunity. We're excited about the opportunity we have moving forward.
I brought Tony Bergstrom with me. He's our offensive right tackle. Played a lot of great football for us, a great student. Chemical engineering major and has represented our university well through the years.
Going into his senior year, I felt he was very deserving to be the player to represent us here during these media days. So with that, questions.

Q. You've been known as the BCS Buster. How much different will it be to face BCS teams every single week instead of the Mountain West?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: That's one of the challenges that I mentioned or I'm alluding to when I talk about the challenges that lie ahead. We're in and week out we're fully aware we need to bring our A-game. We've faired fairly well over the last 8 to 10 years playing against the BCS schools on a sporadic basis. But as you mentioned playing week-in and week-out is something that we've got to be ready for.
We feel like we've recruited well over the last several years and we've got good players, which is the starting point. You've got to have good players to compete. We think our roster is pretty solid, and we'll find out and have a better answer for you in about four months.

Q. You come into the conference with a well-regarded program already. Do you expect to be immediately competitive in the division and compete for that division title?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Well, we hope to. That is our goal to win the south, which I'm sure the other five teams in the south are thinking the same thing. But we have a couple of goals going into the season. The short-term goal is to win our opener against Montana State September 1st. Long-term goal is to represent the South Division in the championship game, and we'll see what happens.

Q. Since joining the Pac-12, how much has it influenced your career? Has it improved?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Big time. We've had a big spike in recruiting. For example, the announcement was made back in June a year ago, within ten days after the announcement we had several verbal commits. Many of which those players would not have been able to get in on without BCS Conference affiliation.
So the recruiting on -- the impact of recruiting was felt right away, and has carried over into this past recruiting season. And bringing Coach Norm Chow on board has been another thing that's been a big impact for us. His reputation and what he's been able to accomplish has enabled us to get some commitments from some very good players.

Q. How's the change in your offensive philosophy going, and what are the biggest challenges in that?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Change of philosophy's going very well. That is one of the reasons, primary reasons we brought Norm in was to instill more of a pro-style attack. Jordan Wynn, our quarterback is more suited to being under center. He's been in shotgun the last couple years for us and done a good job with that. His skillset is such that being under center is a much better situation for him. That's what he did in high school. He was under center in high school almost exclusively, so we think this is the right direction to go.
Obviously, the down side is Jordan was not able to participate in spring ball, so the on offense had a tough time getting underway. We had two freshmen, inexperienced quarterbacks running the offense. But we feel when we get Jordan back, which we will do in the beginning of fall camp, that things should start to pick up.

Q. The teams from your division are going to miss a couple of the teams from the other division each year, and you get to skip Oregon and Stanford this year. How much of an advantage is that for you?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: If you base it on last year, it's a big advantage. Every year brings new challenges. Every year is its own entity. Who is going to be the overachieving teams this year are the teams that emerge and come to the forefront and vice versa. So it remains to be seen.
But certainly based on last year, if you had to structure your schedule, that's how you'd like to structure it.

Q. The critics of the non-BCS conferences say that, yeah, they're BCS Busters. They win big Bowl games. But if they had to face that schedule week-in and week-out, it would be different. What is your thought on that?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: We've had a pretty good track record against BCS schools over the last ten years. Somebody told me we've won more games against BCS opponents than any non-BCS school in the country. So we've fared pretty well. It is a little different ballgame playing them week-in and week-out. We've got to be ready to bring the A-game each and every week.
But we feel excited about the opportunity we have to do that, and we'll see what happens. I can't predict the future, but I know our guys have been working hard, they're focused, and we'll get that inaugural Pac-12 game on September 10th down at the Coliseum against the USC Trojans. So that will be something that we're looking forward to.

Q. Coach, you mentioned playing USC. Your reaction to USC being, I believe, your first conference game?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Baptism by fire.

Q. Your reaction coming into Southern California, I'm sure you have a big Utah base. You how important is this game not only for reception in recruiting, but how important is it in the conference south division schedule big game coming up like that?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Every Pac-12 game is important, particularly the ones in your own South Conference. Our guys have been pretty good, very good throughout the years of keeping an even keel throughout the course of the season. Some games get termed as a big game or this game's more important than that.
Bottom line, they all count as one, and you have to be ready to play every week. That is the first conference game we have on our schedule, so right now that is the most important conference game.
Most important game we've got is Montana State September 1st, but the most important Pac-12 game will be that first one against USC.

Q. Tony, your stats are impressive. What area do you need to improve on this year? And Coach, what is Tony's best quality on the field?
TONY BERGSTROM: My area of improvement for offensive line it's always technique. Everything is about technique. So I guess I'd say probably in the pass blocking, got to work on getting a little more hip bend. Sometimes I'm a little stiff in the hips.
But do that, keep working on the hands, but there is always something to improve on. I could pick apart anything. But I'd say that's probably the biggest thing right now.
COACH WHITTINGHAM: My take on Tony first of all, he's the whole package in offensive tackle. He's got the size, the strength, the foot speed that you need to excel at the position.
We've had some very good offensive tackles come through our programs through the years. Jordan Gross, one of the best tackles in the NFL right now, Zane Beadles who is with the Broncos. And Tony's in the same mold as those guys.
He's been a big asset to our football team. I'd say that his athletic ability, he was a very good defensive lineman in high school. Typically your best offensive linemen have a background as a defensive lineman in high school, and Tony has that and has made the transition very well.

Q. How do you and your teammates feel about joining the conference and the challenge that represents is this is this a big deal for you and the players?
TONY BERGSTROM: Absolutely. You kind of look at it as sort of a payoff for all the hard work you've put in.
We feel like we've done well and had a lot of success. We've worked hard and feel like we work as hard as anyone in the country, so this is kind of our payoff for that, like I said.

Q. You mentioned Wynn being ready to go for the start of camp. How are you going to bring him along? Are you going to limit some of the things he does early?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Absolutely, the shoulder is sound. He's 100% from a medical standpoint. There are no limitations in that regard. But we'll be careful with him particularly early on. Coach Chow has a plan in place to limit his throws early in camp and progress from there.
That's very important for us this year, and job one, in fact, is keeping Jordan Wynn healthy throughout the course of the season. We want to make sure that we don't overwork him early on in camp.
What that number is, we're looking at is it 100 throws a day? Is it 80 throws a day? But we'll have a plan in place to make sure we don't wear him out early on in camp.

Q. Tony, do you feel fortunate as a player that your first year as you adjust to the conference, that you guys don't have to play Oregon and Stanford?
TONY BERGSTROM: Kind of like Coach said, if you looked at my record last year, it would be very fortunate. But this year we're just glad to be in the South Conference. I mean, we're glad to be playing the best teams that we can.
We feel the South Conference that we're in has some of the best talent in the country. So we're excited for that. I couldn't tell you how good these teams are going to be, so I can't tell you if we're lucky or not. That will play out in the end and we'll see.

Q. How much has the community been jacked about being in the Pac-12? Can you tell?
COACH WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, it's been a huge buzz in the community with our fan base. We had a 98% renewal rate for season tickets, which is virtually unheard of. Throughout the country you can go to any university and you'll be hard-pressed to find that type of support.
It's something that affects our university on a lot of different levels, not only athletically, but obviously academically we're feeling the effects as well. So it's been a big plus all the way around.
Like I said, it's something that's been talked about for a lot of years.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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