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Whittingham Is a Coaching Great. What Does The Extension Mean For The Utes?

Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes looks at a replay in the first half of a game against the Washington Huskies at Rice-Eccles Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

Salt Lake City, Utah – Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham is the longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12 and he’ll be in crimson even longer as his contract was just extended for two years.

Scott Mitchell, former Utah and NFL quarterback said this could mean one of two things on his podcast, Helmets Off.

First, Mitchell, who also gives radio color commentary for the Utes, said it can be the kiss of death when the new boss, athletic director Mark Harlan, puts all this faith in you and establishes that “you are his guy,” in Mitchell’s words.

Or it can simply mean that Whittingham has done a good job and should keep it up. It all comes down to how Whittingham handles the pressure.


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Challenges Facing Whittingham

On the podcast, Mitchell discussed how challenging being a college football coach can be because of the responsibility they have in molding student-athletes. It can be even more challenging than just calling plays on the sidelines.

“It’s probably as much babysitting as it is actually coaching,” said Mitchell.

He added that social media and the exposure it brings adds a whole new level of difficulty to the job of a college football coach.

Another challenge Mitchell mentioned for coaches is the fact that the student-athletes are not tied to them or their program. There are no contracts and if the players want to leave, they can pretty much go whenever they want.

For example, Whittingham’s celebrated, four-star recruit, the third-string quarterback, Jack Tuttle, left in October of 2018 for Indiana, likely in hopes of getting some playing time.

Whittingham Is One Of The Greats

Whittingham has been Utah’s head coach for 14-years. Mitchell said this qualifies him as “a great coach.”

According to Mitchell, all of the great football coaches have one thing in common: a core value that drives their program.

“(Whittingham) has built his team around being tough, being physical and having a great defense,” said Mitchell.

In the Utes’ team room, there is a motto that reads, “Play great defense, play great special teams, score in the red zone, win the fourth quarter.”

That statement is everything needed to know about Whittingham’s Utes.

Mitchell also said that consistency at the head coaching position is extremely beneficial for players and that is the biggest positive take away from the extension.

Coach Whit Better Deliver … Or Else

On the flip side, sometimes getting an “atta boy,” in the form of a contract extension can be the kiss of death, according to Mitchell.

“Now you have set yourself up for success and you better come through and you better deliver… Or else,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell is not convinced that is the case with Whittingham at Utah, but time will tell.

Tune into Helmets Off  on the KSL Sports app.