Utes win the Whittingham war

It was the Holy War part two-and the Utes won again. They didn’t score a “W,” however-they earned a head coach.

Former Ute defensive coordinator, now the official head coach, Kyle Whittingham took his time to decide, but in the end, decided to sign with the U football team.

“It was a difficult decision, that’s no secret,” Whittingham said. “I am sorry how it turned and believe me I didn’t want it to be like a dog and pony show. That was not my intention at all.”

Speculation built up throughout the week after both the U and BYU officially offered their head coaching positions to Whittingham.

Utah raised its offer to $750,000 per season and Whittingham went with the Utes, but he insists it wasn’t about money.

“It was never about money and I know that some people may not believe that,” Whittingham said. “That’s not what I am all about.”

Several players found out about the decision Tuesday night.

“He called Morgan [Scalley] and then Morgan called me,” Ute safety Eric Weddle said. “The first thing he told Morgan is that he is a Utah man and always will be.”

Ute Athletics Director Chris Hill was ecstatic about the hire.

“He was the right man at the right time,” Hill said.

Whittingham outlined his plan and told media members along with a large audience in Wednesday’s press conference what he has already done and what he will do to prepare for his new position as head coach.

“I have elevated coach Gary Anderson to defensive coordinator,” Whittingham said.

Anderson was the defensive line coach this year and graduate assistant Jay Hill was promoted to coach the secondary.

The offensive coordinator position, however, has not been settled.

“We will hopefully have [an offensive coordinator] in place in the next two to three days,” Whittingham said.

Quarterbacks coach Dan Mullen, who was rumored for the offensive coordinator position at the U, seems to be following in Meyer’s footsteps to Florida.

“I have met with some great young minds, and I should have one in place by the end of the week,” Whittingham said.

The spread offense Urban Meyer instituted two years ago will not be scrapped with Whittingham at the helm.

“We will do a lot of what we are already doing and mix in some new things,” Whittingham said.

Carrying over the success from this year to the next already creates amazing pressure for the new coach.

“Expectations are very high,” Whittingham said. “The bar has been set. It’s a situation that I welcome.”

Whittingham will not ignore Meyer’s success as head coach and has learned many things over the last two years.

“I’m excited about keeping what we had going with Meyer in place-the discipline, the structure, the academics,” Whittingham said. “Everything he put in place I firmly believe in. It’s not going to be Urban Meyer part two. It’s going to be the same thing you got with my flavor and my personality added to it.”

Although Meyer brought in the offensive system and the attitude that brought much success, Whittingham attributed much of the credit to the players.

“We don’t have a magical offense, we have magical players,” Whittingham said. “That’s what makes this go. The players are the nuts and bolts.”

The Utes will have a major exodus of players this year, considering the huge senior class that led the team.

Players such as Morgan Scalley, Sione Pouha, Paris Warren and Marty Johnson, among others, will be gone. The loss of the players will put an even heavier weight on Whittingham to keep his underclassmen and recruit well.

“We have to mend some fences,” Whittingham said. “There were some recruits that went sideways on us and we want to get on top of them. We are playing a little bit of catch-up in recruiting, but I think we are going to be fine.”

As for the bowl game, Whittingham supports Meyer coaching the Fiesta Bowl.

“He has my full support,” Whittingham said. “Once that game is over, he can hand that baton off to me.”

As for preparation for the bowl game, Whittingham also attributed credit to the players.

“This group of players are so focused and have a great work ethic,” Whittingham said. “Preparations are going great.”

Many players hoped Whittingham would end up with the Utes and can now be at ease since they got their man.

“It’s good to know he is with us and not down south,” Weddle said.

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