Kyle Whittingham Gives Early Impressions Of UCLA Ahead Of Pac-12 Opener

Sep 18, 2023, 2:48 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Kyle Whittingham’s Utah football team sits at 3-0 and preparing to turn their attention to their Pac-12 opener against UCLA on Saturday.

The “Conference of Champions” is off to a hot start in 2023 in what many expect to be the final season of the conference as we know it. The Bruins are certainly part of that conversation, along with the Utes making their matchup a big one.

Both teams come into the game ranked with Utah sitting at No. 11 while UCLA is No. 22 in this week’s AP Top 25. Last year, the Bruins upset the Utes in Pasadena, but Utah has gotten the better of UCLA in recent memory. How does that play out on Saturday? Tune in to find out.

Kyle Whittingham’s Thoughts On UCLA

In his Monday morning press conference, Whittingham gave his thoughts the UCLA Bruins and what he believes they will bring to the table Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City.

“UCLA is a good football team, well coached,” Whittingham said. “A ton of talent- a ton of really good players and they’ve done a really good job of incorporating the guys they’ve brought in. They are a team that is going to be a great matchup for us.”

Emphasizing The Importance Of Being At Home

The Utes have one of the longest active home-win streaks in the country and Whittingham is hoping once again the crowd will play a factor in the game.

“We have them at home,” Whittingham said of UCLA. “Hopefully our home crowd shows up like it almost always does. It provides a big home field advantage for us that’s definitely something we feed off of at Rice-Eccles is that crowd.”

Whittingham’s Thoughts On UCLA Freshman Quarterback Dante Moore

The Bruins no longer have Dorian Thompson-Robinson on their roster, but he’s been replaced by a freshman with every bit as much potential.

“He’s going to be outstanding- he’s already really good,” Whittingham said. “He’s going to be really, really good as time goes on. It’s the same approach they took with Dorian Thompson-Robinson- they started him early and just groomed him. Gave him all the reps. Little bit of a different guy than Dorian. Not as much of a runner but he’s a terrific player.”

Whittingham’s Expectations For UCLA Heading Into The Game

UCLA’s out of conference schedule maybe wasn’t as daunting as Utah’s, but Whittingham expects them to be a tough opponent. The Bruins opened their season with a 27-13 win over Coastal Carolina followed by a 35-10 win over San Diego State and a 59-7 drubbing of NCCU last weekend.

“They haven’t had as rigorous of a schedule as some teams in the conference,” Whittingham said. “You can tell a lot about- regardless of competition, just watching players. How they move, how fast they get from point A to point B and just overall athleticism. Fundamentally, technically how sound they are- particularly on the line of scrimmage.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Kyle Whittingham Gives Early Impressions Of UCLA Ahead Of Pac-12 Opener