Kyle Whittingham Thinks The Offense Might Have To Carry Utah This Season

Oct 23, 2020, 9:47 AM | Updated: Oct 26, 2020, 12:59 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah is two weeks away from their season opener against Arizona and the program is seeing something they haven’t seen in a very long time.

As expected, Utah’s offense is thriving in camp with a lot of experience returning from the 11-3 season in 2019. That side of the football is performing well to the point that head coach Kyle Whittingham thinks the offense might have to do more of the heavy lifting this season than the defense.

“The offense is further ahead than the defense. It was apparent in the scrimmage last week. It was very apparent in practice yesterday,” Whittingham said. “We had two live sessions about 20 snaps each so about 40 snaps total of live work yesterday was the offense definitely got the best of things. I would say that’s to be expected we got a lot of returning starters on offense. Obviously the quarterback situation is being determined as well as the running back situation but there’s a lot of experienced guys on offense in the second year under Andy’s (Ludwig) system. Players feel very comfortable and he’s taking it to another level. He’s expanded upon what he put in last year and built upon the concepts that we had last year and so there’s a lot of confidence right now on offense, they’re playing fast, the execution level is very good. We hope it continues. They may need to carry us the first part of the season, maybe the whole season, we’ll find out but it’s definitely where our experience lies on this football team is on the offensive side.”

The Utes lost nine starters on defense from last season.

Expectations Going Into Final Fall Camp Scrimmage

During their four-week training camp as they are ramping up for Arizona, Utah scheduled two scrimmages. The first one was on Saturday, October 17 and the second and final one will be on Saturday, October 24. The second scrimmage will be critical in settling the many position battles across all three phases.

“We want to be cleaner than last week,” Whittingham said. “That’s the main objectives that we see progress from the scrimmage last week and not that last scrimmage was bad, but we just have to get better and that’s really across the board. There’s no one specific area of concern. We just need to get better as a football team. Execute better on offense, tackle better on defense just do all the basics better than what we saw last week. We also would like to see some more separation, hopefully between some of the positions that are there’s competition going on, which is most of them and we will have a little bit more live work next week. Nothing that’s extensive. But if we get more evaluation, we can control that and dictate that might amount of live work next week, tomorrow (Saturday) would be two weeks out. So you got to be real careful what you do beyond tomorrow’s scrimmage, so we’ll see what happens.”

Defensive Line Depth

After losing three of the four starters on the defensive line last year in Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu and John Penisini, the Utes have reloaded on the defensive line rather than rebuilding. The Utes have some key contributors to watch for at the two defensive tackle spots.

“We’ve got some new faces in there but we expect a lot of production,” Whittingham stated. “Viane Moala is the headliner inside, he’s an outstanding defensive tackle, Hauati Pututau is in there with him. Couple freshmen that are making waves, Tennessee Pututau has done a really good job, you’ll see him in action. And then Tanoa Togiai is doing a great job as well.”

Out on the edges, Utah brings back two guys with experience but some freshmen have impressed the coaching staff as well and is pushing for playing time.

“On the outside, we got Maxs (Tupai) and Mika (Tafua), who were scheduled to be the starters but Van Fillinger is making his presence known as is Xavier Carlton. Devin Kaufusi was a great addition to the crew. Maybe the biggest surprise up front of the fall is Blake Kuithe, he’s really playing good football. We feel like we got a lot of depth there. Really there’s not a lot of separation between a lot of the guys but that should play itself out throughout the course of the season, determining who’s going to get the majority of the reps.

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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Kyle Whittingham Thinks The Offense Might Have To Carry Utah This Season