Kyle Whittingham: Offense Was Too Vanilla In Fourth Quarter

Dec 6, 2020, 8:34 PM

Kyle Whittingham Ty Jordan...

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham walks around his players as they begin their warmups as Utah and Oregon State prepare to play a college football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After Utah knocked off the Oregon State Beavers 30-24 on Saturday, head coach Kyle Whittingham was not happy with his offense.

The Utes had three chances to run out the clock and pick up the win by just getting a couple of first downs but they went three-and-out on three offensive possessions in the fourth quarter. Most of those plays was a run up the middle, which made it predictable for the Beavers’ defense.

“Just kind of got too vanilla and not imaginative and we knew we want to milk the clock, that makes sense to milk the clock in that situation but when you’re milking the clock there’s no reason for you to not stay creative and get some production,” Whittingham said after the game. “That was awful to have three three-and-outs in a row at the end of the game when we could have put the game on ice and we couldn’t do it which is unacceptable. That’s us as coaches and we got to get better. There’s not a coach, myself or the offensive staff that’s that’s pleased with what happened at the end of the game so we got to do better but credit our players again for hanging in there and doing the best they could.”

Three Red Zone Field Goals In First Half

Utah’s offense did not struggle in their first three possessions of the game getting into the red zone. Once they got inside the 20-yard line, that was when they would struggle. They settled for field goals on the first three trips into the red zone.

The second drive should’ve been easy to get a touchdown as Vonte Davis intercepted Chance Nolan’s first career FBS pass attempt. Davis took the pick all the way to Oregon State’s 10-yard line.

When asked about the red zone struggles, Whittingham was very frustrated.

“We got field goals. That’s a whole different deal. That was extremely frustrating,” stated Whittingham. “First three trips in the red zone ended with field goals. The game should have been blown wide open earlier. It was our inability to function how we need to in the red zone, our ineptness in the red zone. That game should not have even been close early on.”

On the fourth drive, Utah was able to score a touchdown as Ty Jordan ran in his first career TD. Jake Bentley missed a couple of throws in the end zone to Brant Kuithe.

Having Britain Covey Back

Saturday against the Beavers was the first time that Britain Covey looked healthy since 2018. He scored his first touchdown since the 2018 season when Bentley found him for an 8-yard score.

Early in the fourth quarter, Covey returned a punt 64-yards for a touchdown. Whittingham loved seeing Covey making plays just like he did early in his career at Utah.

“It was awesome to see Brit (Britain Covey) back there and doing his thing,” mentioned Whittingham. “That punt return was vintage Covey. There’s not a lot of guys in the country who can turn that particular scenario into a touchdown or make the defenders miss. He just has such a knack for seeing the openings, where to make the cuts and where to run. He’s such a weapon for us. It’s great to have him back to almost full speed.”

Covey finished with 4 receptions for 54 yards and a TD.

Utah will travel to Boulder to face the Colorado Buffaloes on Friday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on FS1.

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: Offense Was Too Vanilla In Fourth Quarter