Kyle Whittingham Q&A

Viewing 1 reply thread
    • #184776

      The Miami Ute
      Ute Fan

      In yesterday’s issue of The Athletic there was a pretty interesting article with KW. Here’s the link is anyone’s interested:

    • #184820

      The Miami Ute
      Ute Fan

      Here’s the complete KW interview for those that can’t access the link:

      Kyle Whittingham hasn’t had much time to sift through the pluses and minuses of another conference championship season. That, it turns out, takes up the entire month of February, when he and his staff spend an absurd amount of time rewatching games to figure out how to address deficiencies and build upon breakthroughs. As the two-time defending Pac-12 title holders, Whittingham’s Utah Utes are being looked up at by everyone else, but everyone else is not that far behind.

      Just more than two weeks removed from the 35-21 loss to Penn State in the Rose Bowl, Whittingham spoke to The Athletic about finding a way to contend for a three-peat in 2023, a top-25 recruiting class (No. 21 according to 247Sports), the injury concerns around returning quarterback Cam Rising, what remains on his bucket list, possible retirement timelines, who should succeed him, the passing of close friend Mike Leach and more.

      Now that you can look back on the 2022 season in its entirety, what areas need to be improved upon in order for you to potentially three-peat in the Pac-12 in 2023?

      We gave up too many touchdowns in the red zone (30 touchdowns allowed on 43 red-zone trips by opponents in 2022, 104th in college football). That’s probably the most glaring area we need to shore up. We can also continue to improve our depth. The depth of the roster is something we need to continue to address. That’s really an area of the job that is never done. It’s always ongoing. This year, we feel like we had a really good recruiting class — an outstanding recruiting class.

      Outside of obvious depth issues at certain positions on the roster, when you scour the portal, what intangibles need to be part of a player’s profile in order for you and your staff to reach out and gauge their potential interest?

      With guys in the portal, we really take the exact same approach as we do with high school guys. We want guys with work ethic and a team-first mentality. Of course, you have to have the physical tools, as well, but we need someone who fits our culture. That’s important that we maintain that, but it’s getting more difficult to do with all the transitions. There’s more turnover on your team each year, and I think that’s going to be an increasingly bigger challenge going forward, is keeping your culture intact with all the new players and faces that are going to come into the program each year.

      I’ve been asked by fans if Utah great Steve Smith is a realistic possibility to replace Chad Bumphis (who left for the same job at his alma mater Mississippi State) as wide receivers coach. Is he?

      If he wanted to become a football coach, and that’s the direction he went, he would be outstanding. I’ve got no doubt about that. You never say never. I don’t think anything’s out of the question, but if in fact Steve has that desire, there’s no doubt he’d be wildly successful. I can say that with certainty.

      Can you detail what injury Rising suffered in the Rose Bowl?

      Can’t detail because that’s HIPAA rules and whatever. It’s a leg injury. It’s going to be a fairly extensive rehab. He will not be able to participate in spring, but we expect him to be ready for the season opener.

      Did you know Cam was planning on coming back before the Rose Bowl? If so, how did he inform you of his decision?

      We didn’t know for certain. We knew he was thinking on it and doing a lot of research, which is what these guys do, and that’s what they should do, is talk to as many resources and experts, I guess you could say, as possible. You’ve got to be careful who you listen to because some guys are going to tell you just what you want to hear and some have self-serving interests.

      But if you really do your homework and do it the right way, then you can come up with a really good idea of where you’re going to go in the draft as far as what round, and then make your decision based on: “Am I comfortable with that?” Or you weigh the benefits of coming back and think: “What can I do this season to improve my draft prospects?” It’s a business decision is what it is.

      Did we know Cam was coming back? Nope. Not until he told us because nothing’s ever a done deal until it’s a done deal, but we knew it was trending in that direction. We’re elated he is coming back. I can tell you that.

      What is still left to be accomplished on Kyle Whittingham’s college football bucket list?

      Well, shoot. That’s a good question. First of all, sustaining success, and that’s something we talked about after winning the Pac-12 two years ago. We don’t want to be a flash in the pan and win it one year and then take a dip. We wanted to be able to sustain and maintain success, and I think our guys did a great job of that coming back to win back-to-back Pac-12 championships. Obviously, winning the Rose Bowl would be great. We’ve fallen short the first couple of times. We’ll just have to keep trying until we get it right. The CFP is always a carrot out there that people want to attain and get to, so that’s something that’s definitely in our conversations as a football team, and that’s realistic in our opinion. We think we can earn our way into the CFP.

      Kyle, I think the biggest mistake you’ve made in the last few years is saying that you’d never coach past 65. Are you tired of people asking you when you’re going to become a full-time skier/golfer/Harley rider?

      Not tired of it. I’m 63 so I do have some wiggle room there. At this stage of my career, as long as I’m passionate and enjoying what I’m doing, I have the energy I have, I really love coming to work every day. … There are two things you don’t want to do: You don’t want to retire too soon, and you don’t want to retire too late. You’ve got to hit that sweet spot. I don’t want to be that guy that stays too long. You don’t want to be that guy. Ideally, if you go out on a very high note, that’s great, but then you don’t want to retire and then say, “Shoot, what’d I do that for? Now, what am I going to do?” It’s kind of a balancing act and it’s a big decision. I’m just trying to rely on my gut instinct to find when the time is right.

      We’ve talked a lot about your dad over the years, but one person who had great Fred Whittingham stories was Mike Leach. He told me how intimidated he was of your dad when he would hang around LaVell Edwards’ office at BYU. I know you and Mike were polar opposites in a lot of ways, but also very close. Does Mike’s sudden passing make you think more about how long you want to do this job?

      It sure does. It sure does. It’s definitely something that made me stop and think. Life is short. Life is so short. To be able to do all the things you want to do, there’s a finite amount of time obviously. At the same time, hopefully, we’re doing something good here with helping develop young men and helping them prepare for their future. That’s rewarding as well. It’s not like we’re just here spinning our wheels. Hopefully, we’re being very productive and helpful to all these young men that come through this program.

      You strike me as someone who might have a difficult time waving goodbye to the college football head coach routine of it all. Am I off?

      No, you’re right. You’re right, but on the other hand, I am very good at handling change. I can handle change. We’ve moved several times in my coaching career, and when I move, I don’t even give the place I move from a second thought. It’s all about the new place. I can adapt very quickly. I guess that’s a strength, I guess you could say.

      Have you told (Utah AD) Mark Harlan who you’d recommend to succeed you when that time comes?

      I really believe in Morgan Scalley. I believe Morgan Scalley is one of the best football coaches I’ve been around. I don’t think it’s any secret that I think he deserves to be next in line. I think he’s earned it and he deserves it and is very capable.

      (In June 2020, Scalley acknowledged using a racial slur in a text message to a recruit in 2013 and had his salary cut in half as well as the coach-in-waiting title taken out of his contract. Last spring, Utah altered the defensive coordinator’s contract, upping his salary to $1.4 million, making him one of the highest-paid assistants in the conference).

      Kyle Whittingham’s Utah Utes versus Deion Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes in the final game of the year has a ring to it. Do you know Deion at all? What are your impressions of what he’s accomplished?

      I don’t know him at all. I’ve never met him. He certainly did a great job at Jackson State and put that place on the map. Now, this is his next challenge. All you can do is be very impressed by what he’s accomplished so far and sit back and see what the next chapter brings.

      Is the Pac-12 going to be the most stacked it’s been to date?

      I would say yes. I felt that way this year. I think next year is going to be even more stacked. We had six Top 25 teams at the end of the year. There’s a lot of good football going on in the Pac-12 right now.

      • #184822

        Ute Fan

        Thanks for putting this together. Excellent!

      • #184841

        Ute Fan

        Yes Thank you!  Nice to hear Cam should be back for Game #1

        • #184865

          The Miami Ute
          Ute Fan

          Yes, that was good news. Hopefully, he’s ready to go and doesn’t have to take the rust off.

      • #184858

        Ute Fan

        Awesome to get us these details.

        • #184864

          The Miami Ute
          Ute Fan

          No problem Charlie. I thought it was a very insightful interview. As a poster to this interview mentioned on The Athletic, when I was reading the article I could actually hear KW in my mind saying these words.

Viewing 1 reply thread

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Welcome to Ute Hub Forums Utah Utes Sports Football Kyle Whittingham Q&A