UTAH UTES

While Whittingham Doesn’t Always Agree With Skipping Bowls, He Will Always Support Player’s Decision

Dec 25, 2019, 10:47 AM
Jaylon Johnson vs. Washington...
Utah Utes defensive back Jaylon Johnson (1) scores on the pick-six against the Washington Huskies in Seattle on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Utah won 33-28. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. – The trend that has been taking the college football world by storm is NFL prospects skipping bowl games to get ready for the next level.

Those prospects miss out on the bowl games that don’t have as much meaning as opposed to the College Football Playoff or the New Year’s six games.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was asked about his thoughts on players missing bowl games at the Alamo Bowl press conference.

“If the kid is a first five picks or first 10 picks, that is different than a second or third rounder,” Whittingham said. “Each individual situation has to be weighed separately and judged separately. It’s a different day and age, this wasn’t even a topic a few years back, so things have really changed. If an athlete definitely wants to forgo the bowl season and move on, we will support them as well. I don’t necessarily agree with it all the time. The main thing to me is that they are listening to the right people, as long as they are getting good information and making the decision that is the right one because I believe more times than not that it can help your draft stock by playing in the game and finishing your career.”

Whittingham has a couple of potential players that would fit the “bill” to miss the bowl game and start preparing for the NFL. Those players include running back Zack Moss, defensive end Bradlee Anae, defensive tackle Leki Fotu and cornerback Jaylon Johnson. No official word on any players missing the bowl game for the Utes.

The Utes will not have safety Julian Blackmon, who suffered an injury in the Pac-12 Championship game.

For Texas, head coach Tom Herman is in the same boat as Whittingham when it comes to players potentially missing the bowl game.

“As coaches, we certainly understand that some of these players have to make decisions that they feel are right for their future,” Herman said. “Once that decision is made, we support them. We have always advised our guys to play in the bowl game, to be able to travel and experience the bowl game, also to prove to the NFL how good of a team player that you are.”

The Utes will face Texas in the Alamo Bowl on December 31. The game will begin at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.

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