Kyle Whittingham Couldn’t Be More Pleased With Utah’s Defense
Oct 17, 2023, 4:52 PM
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said he couldn’t be more pleased with the defense through the first half of the 2023 football season and it’s easy to understand why.
A lot of focus has been put into what hasn’t gone right for the Utes- no Cam Rising, no Brant Kuithe, sluggish offense, lots of injuries, etc.
The unfortunate thing about that is that the Utah defense hasn’t been getting near the publicity it should- especially when you consider the team sits at 5-1 and No. 14 in the country ahead of a big matchup against No. 18 USC despite all their ailments.
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 17, 2023
Utah Has Been Playing National Championship Level Defense
Hans went through a laundry list of statistical high marks for the Utes’ defensive unit before asking Whittingham his thoughts on their play through the first half of the season.
Utah’s defensive numbers are silly:
#1 3rd down D. 23% conversion rate.
#2 Rushing D. 66yds/gm
#3 TDs allowed. 5
#5 Scoring D. 12.2pts/gm
#7 Redzone D. Only 12 RZ possessions
#7 Sacks. 22 total sacks, 3.7/gm
#9 Total defense. 277ypg
#9 Turnover margin. +7 Only 3 giveaways
— Hans Olsen (@975Hans) October 17, 2023
“It’s been impressive so far, no doubt,” Whittingham said. “The numbers bear that out. We’re only halfway through and have a lot of football left. We’ll have to see how the second half of the season goes but couldn’t be more pleased with what coach Scalley and his staff and those defensive players have accomplished.”
So Where Does Utah’s Defense Stand Halfway Through 2023?
Here is how Utah football’s defense ranks in various categories through six weeks of play this season:
Those coverage skills tho… 🤌
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 14, 2023
- No. 1 in 3rd down defense with a 23% conversion rate.
- No. 2 in rushing defense only yielding 66 yards per game.
- No. 3 in touchdowns allowed with five total for the season thus far.
- No. 5 in scoring defense averaging 12.2 points per game.
- No. 7 in redzone defense having only allowed 12 red zone possessions thus far.
- No. 7 in sacks with 22 total and counting while averaging 3.7 per game.
- No. 9 in total defense averaging 277 yards per game.
- No. 9 in turnover margin sitting at +7 on the season partially thanks to the offense only having 3 giveaways despite some early deficiencies.
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Looks pretty good to us.
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 X, Instagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports
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