Kyle Whittingham, Utah Looking To Finish 2023 Strong

Nov 13, 2023, 12:43 PM | Updated: 3:23 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football’s hopes of a third-straight Pac-12 Title ended Saturday night in Seattle, but head coach Kyle Whittingham is hoping for a strong finish from his group in 2023.

As it turned out, making the Pac-12 Championship game for a third consecutive year was always going to be a big ask, but Utah hung in and gave themselves a shot till mid-November despite a highly unusual amount of injuries- both season-ending and not.

Still, the Utes continued to find ways to win and push through. Now, with the dream gone, the team needs to just rally and finish with the best record possible which starts this week against an Arizona team on the rise.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah Football Moving On

Saturday was a particularly tough loss due to the fact the Utes had the No. 5 team in the country on the ropes, but let the game get away from them in the second half when they didn’t execute nearly as well. Now it is up to Whittingham and his team to prepare for an Arizona team that has been steadily getting better every week.

“Now we move on,” Whittingham said. “We are going to go to Tucson- another road trip. Arizona is playing very well. They are 7-3 and coming off a win against Colorado. They have a lot going for them.”

Asked about the difficulty of navigating the mass amounts of injuries the Utes have faced this year and Whittingham was pretty blunt about how hard it’s been. End of the day though, he’s adamant that no one cares, and you just have to figure out how to win with the players available.

“The most difficult,” Whittingham said. “I don’t think there is any doubt about that. Again, as I’ve said over and over. No one cares. It’s part of the game and you have to be able to move forward. No one is going to feel sorry for you and you just have to win with the guys that you have got.”

Utah has done a pretty good job all things considered of continuing to press forward despite the injuries with their three losses coming to teams currently ranked in the top 10. Whittingham is hopeful this team will respond once more against the Wildcats this weekend.

“We’ve lost to three top 10 teams,” Whittingham said. “We have to take the same approach and understand that there is more football to be played. You’ve got to rebound. You’ve got to respond. Our team has been good at that this year these first couple of times and we’ve got to do the same thing this time. There is nothing different about our mindset and how we approach it. Got to put it behind you and learn from it.”

While this season did not go as most expected/hoped both inside and outside of the program, Whittingham says he’s proud of what his team has been able to accomplish. With two regular-season games left and a bowl, they still aren’t done yet and are trying to take things one week at a time.

“I’m very proud of our guys for what they have accomplished so far,” Whittingham said. “For them to be 7-3 right now is a tribute to our players and their toughness and the depth of our roster. Already proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we’re taking it one week at a time and if we get to eight wins this week then that is a very big positive.”

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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