Whittingham Comments On How Much Opponent Played Into Utah’s Weekend Success

Sep 12, 2022, 2:02 PM | Updated: 2:23 pm

Devin Kaufusi - Utah Utes vs. SDSU...

Utah Utes defensive tackle Devin Kaufusi (90) lined up during a game between the Utah Utes and the San Diego State Aztecs on September 18, 2021, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was pleased with the progress his team made from a close loss to Florida in week one, to a dominating performance against Southern Utah in week two. While Whittingham acknowledges it is hard to know exactly how much of that improvement is from the type of opponent the Utes took on, he did say the tape showed they were overall more mindful of the technique and fundamentals they used against the Thunderbirds.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Utah Football (@utahfootball)

“It was good to get the win,” Whittingham said. “We should have won, we did win and played like we are supposed to. A lot of positive things in that game. The score aside, we’re playing better fundamentals, technique- particularly on the front seven. It was a lot better gap control. Everything that was so bad in week one was better in week two. Red zone production offensively- we did a lot of good things but we know we have to keep getting better.”

Assessing Last Week’s Opponent

While it is pretty safe to say that Utah is a much better team to this point than they were last year, there is still plenty of work to be done if they are to accomplish their lofty goal of making the College Football Playoff. Florida provided a nice measurement of where they currently stood to start the season, and Southern Utah was a great opponent for them to practice what they needed to work on. Still, it’s hard to know exactly how well the Utes have fixed what plagued them in Gainesville. Taking the competition up a step this week against San Diego State should help to continue clarifying where Utah stands.

“It’s hard to get a completely accurate gage of where we are because there was a talent discrepancy,” Whittingham said. “It’s fact. I don’t think anybody would disagree with that, but the way we went about things whether you are taking on a guy from the SEC or a guy from wherever- there are certain fundamentals and techniques you need to employ. We did a much better job of it on Saturday.”

Moving On To The Aztecs

Now Whittingham and the Utes must turn their attention to San Diego State- a team that got the better of them early last season, but also signaled positive changes that led to their first Pac-12 Title and Rose Bowl appearance. The Aztecs will be a step or two up in competition from SUU and another great way for the Utes to measure how much they have learned and improved since taking on the Gators.

“We have a San Diego State team coming in that put one on us last year and flat out beat us,” Whittingham said. “We’ve got to be prepared and ready. I’m sure our guys will have a good week of practice. We came out of the game healthy for the most part. No season ending injuries and we have another home game which our guys are really looking forward to here at Rice-Eccles.”

Whittingham says what stood out about last year’s triple-overtime thriller in Carson last season was that it was a painful game where the Utes mostly didn’t do themselves any favors. He also noted on a more positive end that hindsight shows that was one of the turning points in the season where the Utes went from a not great team, to a very good team.

“Obviously, what stands out is when Cam [Rising] entered the game in the fourth quarter and provided that spark immediately,” Whittingham said. “Poor special teams. I think we had one or two punts blocked. It just seemed like we were way out of sync in that football game. We played good defense for the most part and then what was it? Triple overtime? It was not a good experience and we just didn’t play well. After the outcome, it turned out to be a change in our season because of the quarterback change and going with Cam the rest of the way.”

Early Scouting Of San Diego State

In 2022 Whittingham sees a very similar SDSU team to what Utah faced last season. The biggest difference according to him is really just some of the new faces, but that will happen with every team the Utes play. For Utah, it will simply be about not getting ahead of themselves, and continuing to play, and improve their game.

“Very similar,” Whittingham said. “More similarities than differences- particularly schematically. They are still a shot-gun spread attack with a couple of big tight ends that they use a lot. They have a stable of ‘backs though one may be out this week. They are athletic. They did lose a couple of o-linemen from last year so they’ve had to replace them. Same scheme on defense. Lost a couple of good players there as well.”


  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes


Michelle Bodkin

Report: Runnin’ Ute Deivon Smith Enters NCAA Transfer Portal

Reports surfaced Friday that Runnin' Ute Deivon Smith has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal and will not be with the team in 2025.

11 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Gymnastics Hoping To Continue Trend Of High Viewership For Women’s Sports

Women's sports are having a moment setting records and the Red Rocks hope to set a few more as they compete for a National Title.

13 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

How To Watch Utah Gymnastics Compete For A National Title

The Red Rocks have a prime opportunity to earn a National Title after putting on a dominant performance to win their semifinal bracket.

13 hours ago

DeMarlo Slocum...

Michelle Bodkin

Report: Utah Assistant Coach DeMarlo Slocum To Join Danny Sprinkle At Washington

DeMarlo Slocum is heading up to Seattle to join former USU head coach Danny Sprinkle at Washington as an assistant.

14 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

No. 1 Oklahoma Fails To Advance, No. 5 Utah Leads Charge At Nationals Semifinals

After securing their fourth straight Pac-12 Title the Red Rocks are focused on making a run in their 48th straight appearance at Nationals.

1 day ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Gymnastics Nationals Leo Inspired By Alicia Keys Super Bowl Outfit

The Red Rocks are about to take the stage at their 48th straight Nationals and decided to celebrate the occasion with a new leo.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Whittingham Comments On How Much Opponent Played Into Utah’s Weekend Success