Kyle Whittingham: ‘We Really Needed Spring Ball’

Mar 31, 2020, 4:31 PM
Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes shows a look of concern against the Oregon Ducks durin...
Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes shows a look of concern against the Oregon Ducks during the first half of the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi's Stadium on December 06, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah football is just like every other team in the country and is on the sidelines as they await permission to get back together and meet as a team so they can prepare for the 2020 season.

Ute head coach Kyle Whittingham joined KSL Unrivaled to provide an update on how he, his staff, family, and players are handling not being able to stay on their typical routine.

There are still a lot of unknowns about the upcoming college football season and specifically in Utah’s case as they have the least amount of returning production in all of FBS.

Missing out on live reps for new players makes it much harder to determine who would be getting the starting job. Had this Utah team been bringing back a bulk of their taken, then not having spring would still not be great but much more manageable.

Utah Missing Spring Could Be A Big Setback

Plus, the Utes have no clear cut quarterback as there was to be a spring competition between Cam Rising and new graduate transfer Jake Bentley who is coming from South Carolina.

Missing spring football is a huge setback for the Ute program and Whittingham acknowledges that.

“It is a huge departure for what is usually going on and it is frustrating,” Whittingham said. “This year, we really needed spring ball worse than several years. We have nine new starters on defense to replace, replace our starting quarterback and we had some checklist items on to accomplish this spring but unfortunately won’t happen.

“We will see how things transpire. NCAA is talking about perhaps if things calm down giving schools that missed ‘x’ amount of spring days and given the opportunity to catch up in June and July to get some practices in. Right now, we are just hoping for things to get back to normal.”

Getting those extra days back will be beneficial for the Utes who are basically constructing a depth chart from scratch.

We Are Doing What We Can To Stay Connected

With the state of Utah having more restrictions on how many people can meet and gather, the Ute coaching staff is doing what seemingly everyone else is and doing everything over the phone, email, and video calls.

This does make things a bit more difficult to get things done ranging from academics, film study and working out. Staying in shape is difficult without going to the gym with teammates and that is something these coaches are working on to keep the team ready to go once there is the green light to return as a team.

However, the one big question is if there is no spring will there be enough time to find out the two-deep.

“That is a tough question to answer right now, not knowing how things will unfold and how much additional time the NCAA is going to give us,” Whittingham said. “We are going to have to, whatever ends up being the ground rules and parameters we will have to deal with that. It may not be an ideal amount of time for us to get it done, and we may have to make some decisions without much of a body of work to evaluate as we would like. That is what we gotta do, whatever hand is dealt to us is what we gotta do.”

There is not much more Whittingham can really say. He knows his team will not be as experienced as last year and it is more than just finding out who will be on the two-deep. Those new players need live reps and there is only so much one can do working out alone, talking with coaches, and studying film.

Getting back on the field is what this team needs to be able to start to come together as one for the 2020 season.

Everyone is getting nervous about the possibility of no college football and that includes athletic directors who are iffy at best for the 2020 season will go on as planned. Count in Whittingham who is uncertain if college football will be played in the fall.

“That seems very bizarre, and I guess the NFL would be in the same boat, I would think. That would be uncharted territory, for certain,” Whittingham said. “Football is the flagship of just about most Power 5 universities, and not to be disrespectful to the other sports, but football generates the lion’s share of the revenue. Hope it doesn’t come that but right now at this point in time there is no telling what will happen.”

Do Not Expect Coach Whitt To Dance

There is a lot more time at home and plenty of people are being creative in passing the time. Whittingham is an empty-nester so he doesn’t have the young kids around and therefore no need to google math or science questions. So, to pass the time when work is done, Whittingham said that he is going to the golf courses that are still open and hitting the links.

That is much different compared to his staff as well as his friend BYU head coach Kalani Sitake who is helping their young ones with school work as well as burning off energy with some dance moves.

“Kalani is a much better dancer than me,” Whittingham said. “I have no moves and I will admit that without any hesitation and everyone has their strong suit and dancing is not one of mine.”

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.

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