The Utes, Coach Whittingham and a well stocked liquor cabinet

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      • #150556
        7 3

        Ute Fan

        Flying back from San Deigo in 2018, I was thinking maybe the Holiday Bowl was the best the Utes could expect.  Fast forward to 2019, a similar result in Texas.  After a glass or two (or three) of bourbon during Saturday’s game, my mobile pinging with text messages, as the BYU half of my family gloated, I wondered again; did the Utes reach its apex in 2019.

        I thought back to when Coach McBride was let go by the Utes.  As Dr. Hill explained.  

           “While we appreciate Ron’s efforts — and he certainly has done some great things here — I feel our football program has stagnated and it is time to look to someone else to take us where we want to be,” Hill said. (Deseret News 25-Nov-02)  – link

        I admired and was faithful to McBride, and continue to be faithful to Whittingham.  But is Coach Wittingham the coach to take us to the next level?  Or is this next level, and I need a well stocked liquor cabinet? 

      • #150557

        Ute Fan

        Same thing crossed my mind. It’s so rare to see a coach stay at one place as long as he has and at some point, things start to stagnate. It’s a valid question – is it time to find that next coach to build off what KW has built? Also recognizing that the next guy could be a Giacoletti or Boylen and we will be looking back at our PAC 12 runner up trophies as the glory days.

      • #150558

        Ute Fan

        I think the unknowns (along with the ups and downs) are part of the appeal of college football. Teams are always changing, with players coming and going. The program is in a much better place right now than it was at the end of Ron McBride’s tenure. Could that change? Sure.

        I think we’ve all had our complaints about the coaching staff over the years, but they have managed to accomplish some pretty great things. I don’t think one game changes that. At this point, I feel like Kyle Whittingham is welcome to stay until he is done.

        • #150559

          Ute Fan

          He’s earned the right to go out on his own terms, and I really don’t think he’s going to overstay his welcome. I fully expect his retirement announcement to come out of the blue, at an odd time, like in the middle of a season.

      • #150560

        Ute Dub
        Ute Fan

        Good points and questions. Along with that, my question about player talent: “Have we made everything look good on paper as far as recruiting rankings.” but perhaps we haven’t actually made improvement of talent on the field? Look at our D-Line…are any of them as talented as Leki Fotu, John Penisini and Bradly Anae? Sure Clark Philipps III has a great ranking, but is he like Jaylon Johnson or Julian Blackmon? Outside of Devin Lloyd, I think this defense does not have near the same level of talent as 2019. So are we rebuilding? or did we just luck out that 2019 or hit the peak of Utah football as you say?

      • #150568

        Ute Fan

        Agree with much of what has been said. My biggest concern with Whitt leaving is the purgatory we might find ourselvses in with our next coach. Utah is not a top 20 premier job in college football, and any coach worth his salt will depart after 2 or 3 winning seasons (a la Urban). Getting a guy like Whitt to stay requires significant Utah connections, and I am worried that in the post-Whitt era we will struggle to find a consistent guy who will stick with us. 

        I know solid options for the future exist (Scalley, Brian Johnson, Jay Hill, etc), but all it takes is one bad coaching hire to tank a program into irrelevancy. Just look at Florida State. From 1992 until 2017, they finished ranked 21 out of the 25 seasons. Then they hire Willie Taggart and now are losing to FCS programs as we saw last week and haven’t had a winning record since 2016 where they were 8-8. Fortunately for a name brand like FSU, they still have plenty of hope to become relevant again due to their stature. But (soon to be) 5 years without a winning record is a long time for fans. 

        I am extremely nervous that we could be looking at years of mediocrity once Whitt retires. Of course, we could hire someone great right away, but I don’t see the odds being in our favor. 

        • #150572

          Ute Fan

          This is my biggest worry for the future. Even premier programs have trouble finding great head coaches. Utah has been fortunate with the last several hires, but as evidenced all across the country, Utah seems to be an outlier that way.

          The elephant in the room of who is going to replace KW is getting bigger because I think we’re starting to see that he probably doesn’t have a whole lot of time left. Maybe I’m wrong, and I hope I’m wrong, and he stays around for several more years and leads us back to a P12 championship game.

      • #150571
        6 1

        Ute Fan

        Wow guys, remove your lips from the gun barrel and back away…

      • #150576

        Ute Fan

        I am a realistic optimist, but I am not a “homer” optimist. However, it took letting McBride go the get Urban Meyer. I’m not so sure we find another to replace Coach Whittingham. Sink or swim, I have enough bourbon to weather the losses. I will stick with the Coach for as long as he is willing the stay.

        “A man’s got to know his limitations.” – Harry Callahan (1973)

      • #150577

        Ute Fan

        I think we’re very fortunate to have had Whittingham as long as we’ve had. Look at blue chip programs (Michigan, USC, Georgia) that have all the makings for a national championship program and still can’t reach their goal. Whittingham gives us a very high floor that most programs are envious of. Additionally, over his tenure, Whittingham has kept moving the program forward. That’s a tremendous accomplishment because a lesser coach would have fizzled out after we jumped from being MWC champs to Pac-12 bottom feeders. I’m sure he’s certainly had to learn and adapt a lot and credit to him for doing so.

        Sure, a new hire could theoretically take us to the next level, but the likelihood we take a step back with a new head coach is much more probable. The program’s ceiling flows all the way down to assistants, recruiting, facilities, budget, location, etc. We have to recognize we lost A TON of talent from 2019 and basically had a scrimmage season last year. This team is fresh and needs to figure out who they are. I don’t see a lot of leadership on either side of the ball helping instill the team’s identity (at least on the field). Hopefully that changes soon.

        As far as shaking things up, I do think we’re still largely a defense first organization that recruits very well with certain position (secondary, d-line, running backs) groups, but we haven’t shored up the weak spots. Against elite teams, this gets exposed and I don’t see evidence our coaching staff is good at counteracting or scheming to minimize it. We largely “stick to our game plan” and hope we have better luck next week. I’m only an armchair coach so that criticism probably isn’t fair other than my own eye test.

        It does seem we’ve also gone from the one doing the hunting to the ones being hunted and we don’t have an answer for the teams that are fired up to beat us. We used to be the ones that dominated the teams we’d prepared for (e.g. bowl games) and I’m not sure what’s changed. It’s hard not to place that accountability on the coaches though.

        There’s still a lot of football to be played this year. Yes, it sucks we lost to BYU, but let’s hope the program uses it as a motivator to do better and doesn’t give up on the season (like a lot of fans have).

      • #150584

        Ute Fan

        I like alot of what has been said so far. I would like to add my 2 cents worth by saying i feel whit may be at the end of his career and much as i felt when urban meyer was hired, i dont think we will really know as fans, where to go when he does hang up the whistle.

        As for this season, there is light qt the end of the tunnel. I really was soothed by what whit said at his conference Monday, where he said he was very disappointed in how we were out physicalled in that game. He said he didnt remember a time where a team was simply more physical than they were. This means that he is taking such a large role in accountability for the loss, and knows or has an idea where to go from here.

        A thought that just will not escape me, is…was BYU the last bowl game we won? I cant remember. Either way, there is still a crazy chance we play them again this season. I would love to see this and have us some payback and right this wrong.

        All in all, I want to say, Go mother fricken UTES!!!

        • #150591

          Ute Fan

          Utah beat Indiana the following year. Then lost to NWestern and Texas.

          • #150592

            D T
            Ute Fan

            We also beat WVU.

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