Eric Weddle Describes How Playing For Utah Football Prepared Him For NFL

Feb 12, 2022, 8:06 PM

Eric Weddle - Utah Utes Football...

University of Utah's Eric Weddle in action against University of Tulsa during the Armed Forces Bowl played at Amon Carter Stadium in Ft Worth Texas on December 23, 2006. Utah won the game 25-13. (Photo by L. Scott Wambsganss/Getty Images)

(Photo by L. Scott Wambsganss/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Former Utah football All-American and current Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle described how his college experience prepared him for the NFL.

Eric Weddle is representing the Utah football program in the Super Bowl as the Rams face the Cincinnati Bengals.

How Utah Football Prepared Eric Weddle For Successful NFL Career

As Weddle and the Rams were speaking to the media, he was asked about what Utah football meant to him and Weddle gave a very insightful answer.

“Utah back in the day, was a little unknown mid major,” Weddle said. “If it wasn’t for coach Whitt (Kyle Whittingham) believing in me, and having my back, really fighting for me. Coach (Urban) Meyer didn’t really want to give me a scholarship at the time and coach went to bat for me and believed in me and envision me as somewhere on the defense and had a plan for me. The thing that people forget about Utah’s defense, we play an NFL style defense there. They teach you and it translates immediately to the league.

“My four years prepare me for not just the moment of the league, but prepared me mentally of what it’s going to be like, what is the verbiage? What are the concepts? What are your scheme? The different things you do on defense, how’s that going to look on Sundays,” Weddle added. “At the University of Utah, that’s what we’re known for is defense and being prepared and understanding that what you learn there is going to help you at the next level. So amongst other things, obviously, the coaching, the culture there, having to work, having to compete. Nothing was given at our school, it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman All-American, like I was my freshman year, I still had to go earn that next year, my starting spot. That’s how it isn’t the league, that mindset of each year, they’re trying to get younger, faster and cheaper. So if you don’t have the mindset that you’re gonna keep these young boys at bay, while also having confidence that you can still help them and teach them along the way. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. I learned that early on at the University of Utah. You’re either gonna go get it or you’re gonna get left behind.”

Relationship Between Eric Weddle And Utah Football Head Coach Kyle Whittingham

As mentioned in the response above, Whittingham went to bat for Weddle when trying to get him to Utah because Urban Meyer didn’t want to give Weddle a scholarship. But, Whittingham was able to get Weddle to Utah and the former All-American is one of the best players to ever put on a Utes uniform.

He was asked this week if he was in touch with Whittingham leading up to the Super Bowl.

“I talked to him a couple of days ago and he’s been there reaching out to me every step of the way,” mentioned Weddle. “I was finally able to go back to a home game for the first time in I think five years because I was in Baltimore and it was just never worked out. But I went to their last home game, then I went to the Vegas Pac-12 championship and then I went to the Rose Bowl. Such a monumental moment for our program going to the Rose Bowl for the first time and being able to finally be retired and being able to support them and be around the program more and try to support those guys was really special for me. So,  Coach Whitt, I owe a lot to where I’m sitting here today for him and I don’t take those things for granted. I’m lucky to have learned under him, I admire him, I look up to him and definitely a guy that I value his friendship we’re basically family.”

Super Bowl LVI will kickoff at 4:30 p.m. MT on Sunday, February 13 on KSL 5 TV.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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Eric Weddle Describes How Playing For Utah Football Prepared Him For NFL