Utah Is Willing To Take As Many Morning Games As Possible

Oct 7, 2020, 1:27 PM | Updated: 1:30 pm

Tyler Huntley - Utah...

Quarterback Tyler Huntley #1 of the Utah Utes scrambles with the football during the first half of the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Now that the Pac-12 has released their seven-game schedule for the 2020 season, the kickoff times are being discussed.

With the first six games of the regular season being televised nationally on either FOX, FS1, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNews, many kickoff time options are on the table.

When the Pac-12 initially released the schedule, they also announced that the first conference game on November 7 will feature Arizona State traveling to USC and the kickoff time is 9 a.m. PT/10 a.m. MT on FOX.

That has been a discussion point around the conference as to which teams would be willing to play in the morning. One thing is for certain, Utah is in favor of taking all of the morning games available.

“As willing as you could possibly be,” Kyle Whittingham said. “So whatever the maximum willingness level is, that’s where we’re at. So doesn’t bother us a bit. Our opinion has always been, the sooner we can get on the field, the better. It provides no advantage for either team or both kicking off at the same time. And so we’ve always been strong proponents here, at least our staff and players, let’s play as soon as we can. So that wouldn’t bother us a bit. And we will take as many of those as, as they offer to us.”

The Utes have played some games at noon but the only time morning game times have taken place is if they are playing on the east coast. Normally, morning kickoffs on the west coast is unheard of.

Utah AD Mark Harlan Is On Board

Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan is also in favor of the early morning kickoffs. John Canzano of the Oregonian had Harlan on his radio show and asked him if he was in favor or not of the morning games.

“We’ve got our hands up,” Harlan told Canzano.

Including Utah, Canzano also asked Oregon, Oregon State and Colorado AD’s the same question. The Oregon schools are not in favor while Colorado is in favor.

The Pac-12 held a virtual “Media Day” on Wednesday and coaches were asked. Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich and Stanford head coach David Shaw are not in favor.

How Whittingham Prepares His Players

Whittingham is entering his 16th season as the head coach of the Utes. He has a ton of experience before becoming a head coach of working under coaches such as LaVell Edwards, Ron McBride and Urban Meyer. Whittingham feels like he has found a blueprint for his program in how they prepare their players for games.

“I know we have a system that we believe in and the players believe in it. We’ve been doing a lot of years there hasn’t been a ton of changes to that system and our approach our process I guess you could say and it’s been proven over time and we adhere to it and if we you know things go Don’t go right and you have a couple setbacks you don’t panic and wholesale change things you stay with what what you believe in,” Whittingham said.

“I think that’s that’s a critical aspect of coaching is not to panic and not to just abandon what what your beliefs and tenants are you just continue to to believe in what you’re doing and just keep doing it until you get it right and so you know, I’ve been here a lot of years had a great opportunity to work under Urban Meyer and Ron McBride before that and learn a bunch of stuff from them, LaVell Edwards way before that, and just kind of put it all together and and came up with our own formula and and like I said we believe in it and we think it works and and not to say that we’re not always looking for better ways to tweak it and modify, but we feel that the the nuts and bolts of what we’re doing is sound and has stood the test of time,” Whittingham added.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Utah Is Willing To Take As Many Morning Games As Possible