Kyle Whittingham: We’d Like To Keep That Momentum Going Into This Game

Oct 24, 2022, 12:30 PM
Kyle Whittingham - Utah Utes vs. Arizona State...
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham encourages fans to make noise in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Utah won 35-21. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah is coming down off of the high of beating USC in a thriller at home before their BYE week, and head coach Kyle Whittingham would like to see that momentum carry into this week’s game against Washington State.

Despite the week off, the Utes and Cougars are dealing with a short week as they will face off Thursday night in Pullman at 8 p.m. MT on FOX Sports 1. WSU currently sits 4-3 (1-3 in conference) and coming off of a two-game losing streak.

However, Whittingham knows his team will have a challenge on their hands with Cam Ward- another mobile quarterback with a big arm, as well as the conference’s leading defense in many categories.

Tweaking The Practice Schedule

Managing a different schedule isn’t always easy, but Whittingham and the Utes seem to have a good system down that’s worked for them for year. Whittingham explained how the team got a few days off to recover before getting back to work to prepare for the Cougars.

“We gave them a couple of days off after the last game at home,” Whittingham said. “We did come in Monday and watch the film and put that game to bed, but Tuesday and Wednesday we gave them off and then picked up on Thursday as if it was a Monday and carried on through. We gave them Sunday off and so today is like a Wednesday/Thursday hybrid practice, tomorrow will be like Thursday and then we’ll be on track Wednesday/Thursday as a typical Friday/Saturday.”

Preparing The Defense To Stop Cam Ward

Whittingham says there have been some adjustments made to the defense, but not a lot heading into the WSU game. What he and the Utes’ defense are more concerned with is keeping the momentum they found in the second half of the USC game going.

“A little bit of streamlining, not a ton, we weren’t doing all that much,” Whittingham said. “It’s not like it was overly complicated, but if you look at the second half, we played much better in the second half than we did the first half last week. There is no panic or need to have wholesale changes, but if we could play more like we did in the second half than the first half- that’s the objective. Guys made plays, played with confidence and played hard- they always play hard, but just settling in and making plays.”

Profiling Cam Ward

Washington State quarterback Cam Ward has Whittingham’s respect just like all of the quarterbacks the Utes have faced so far this season. Once again, the defense will be tasked with stopping a dual-threat guy who can get the job done with both his arm and his legs.

“He’s very similar to what we saw against USC,” Whittingham said. “He’s got a great arm, can extend plays, he’s hard to sack. He’s not as hard to sack once you get ahold of him- the other guy was like tackling a lineman, but this guy is very similar and can get himself out of jams and has done a nice job throwing the ball. He’s getting close to 300 a game.”


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