Coaches react to Saturday’s action

By By Jon Gilbert

By Jon Gilbert

Saturday’s football contest between Utah and Wyoming at Rice-Eccles Stadium was defined by one word, one kick and one finger.

Early in the week leading up to the Mountain West Conference clash, Cowboys head coach Joe Glenn attempted to motivate his troops by issuing a “guarantee” — a victory against the Utes.

The problem is, he ended up motivating the Utes as well.

Utah likely didn’t need any motiving, given the way Wyoming trumped the Utes 31-14 last season in Laramie, Wyo.

“Everything just kept stirring the pot a little bit,” said Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen. “Obviously, last year’s game was a factor and obviously the comments that were made were a factor.”

After coming out firing, Utah found itself in commanding position at halftime, up 40-0. The Utes employed a slew of trick plays to jump out in front. With 6:21 left in the third quarter, Utah kicker “Sweet” Louie Sakoda kicked his third field goal of the game to put the Utes up 43-0.

Apparently, the lead wasn’t large enough for Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and his team.

On the ensuing kickoff, Whittingham called an onside kick that was nearly successful. Ben Vroman’s dribbling kick rolled a foot short of the necessary 10 yards.

The seemingly out-of-place play elicited quite the reaction from a perturbed Glenn. He flashed his middle finger at the Utah bench.

Glenn didn’t acknowledge the obscene gesture immediately following the 50-0 loss, even though TV cameras caught his reaction to the onside kick.

Glenn was reprimanded Monday by the MWC.

Whittingham responded to questions about the onside kick after the game by saying Utah was “just playing football” and that “you don’t shut it down in the third quarter.”

Utah’s players also had feelings about the onside kick after the game.

“If that didn’t seem right to you, then you’ve never played football before,” center Kyle Gunther said. “For someone to guarantee a victory like that, is just a total sign of disrespect.”

Two days removed from the heated game, both coaches used Monday as a chance to take a second look at their actions.

“I met with my team on Sunday and apologized to them for the gesture I made toward the Utah bench during the game,” Glenn said in a statement.

Glenn stated after the game that he regretted making his guarantee.

“I got emotional last week and got my big Irish mouth going and made the guarantee,” he said. “I’d probably like to have it back now. I wouldn’t do it again. Find the crow and I’ll eat it.”

Glenn made the guarantee in the week following Wyoming’s third loss in four games.

Whittingham said he would think better of calling the onside kick again.

“The only thing there is to talk about is the onside kick decision in the third quarter and in hindsight, we shouldn’t have done it,” Whittingham said. “It didn’t need to happen. We had worked two weeks on it and wanted to find a spot to use it. You get caught up emotionally in a football game. You want to be competitive and the juices are flowing, but when I had a chance to digest it (I realized) if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lennie Mahler

After a guarantee of a Wyoming victory, an on-side kick at 43-0 and an obscene hand gesture in return, both head coaches have expressed regret for their actions Saturday.