Kyle Whittingham, Clay Helton Believe Utah/USC Game Trending In Right Direction

Nov 17, 2020, 2:21 PM | Updated: 3:34 pm
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)...
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and USC head coach Clay Helton are hopeful that the Utes and Trojans can meet on Saturday.

The Trojans have played two games this season and are 2-0, while the Utes have yet to play a football game in 2020.

Whittingham met with the Utah media on Tuesday morning at his annual press conference and is optimistic that the Utes can play this week.

“We’ve had a encouraging week so far,” Whittingham stated. “Excellent practice yesterday. You might expect that the players’ spirits be a little down because of the disappointment last couple weeks, but that’s not the case. They’re eager and ready to go. We’ll get back out on the field today (Tuesday)…Right now all our efforts are geared towards getting ready for the USC Trojans.”

Helton met with the local media on Tuesday morning and was asked about the status of the Utah game on Nov. 21.

“I know it’s being monitored daily,” Helton said. “As a team, we focus on what we can control and that’s the health and safety of our team currently, right now and the protocols that we follow…We’re focused on that, as well as having finals this week, and prepping for a good Utah team. It looks like it’s trending in the right direction. It sounded like yesterday (Monday) that Kyle and the team got to go out and practice, which is great. Our hope and prayer is everybody stays healthy and safe this week and we get the opportunity to compete together. I’m hoping for Kyle’s kids too, because I know everybody wants to have the opportunity to play the game they love.”

How USC Is Preparing For Utah

It’s the third straight week that USC will face a team that is beginning their season. They played Arizona State in the opening weekend of the Pac-12 season, followed by Arizona last week, who had their game against Utah canceled.

Entering the game against Utah, USC doesn’t have much film on the Utes with the young pieces on defense and a new quarterback. Utah’s advantage is being able to watch film on the Trojans from their past two games.

“In this game a little bit different because there’s not two new coordinators. So you get a feel for structurally and schematically what they can be. You don’t have proof of it this year, that they haven’t changed because of their personnel changes on defense and offense. There were a lot of good players on last year’s team and what we’re missing right now is just the personnel matchups of not being able to truly see guys on tape and what they look like. There’ll be a lot of first time starters, especially in the secondary.”

Utah Getting Players Back From Quarantine

The week is off to a great start for the Utes as Whittingham told the media that they are getting a lot of their players out of quarantine.

“Things are trending in the right direction for us, as far as getting back to health and getting guys back out on the practice field. So that’s encouraging as well,” stated Whittingham. “We’re getting more guys back both out of quarantine and also the active cases have run their course for the most part we still have a few that are due to come out in the next few days. But we’re in a much better spot right now than we were the last two weeks and and we tried to do everything in our power the last couple weeks to play but there was in between the 53 available scholarship players and/or a position group being decimated. That knocked us out of competition.”

Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan announced on Friday that the football team had 28 members of the team (players, coaches, staff) test positive for COVID-19 or are in isolation due to contact tracing.

The Utes and Trojans are scheduled to kickoff off on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 8:30 p.m. MST on ESPN.

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, Clay Helton Believe Utah/USC Game Trending In Right Direction