Football Notebook: Idaho State


Northern Illinois University football head coach Thomas Hammock congratulates University of Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham following an NCAA Football game at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor


The non-conference play wraps up for the No. 11 University of Utah football team this weekend. The team will host Idaho State on Saturday, Sept. 14 in a Pac-12 versus Big Sky showdown. As Head Coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the media on Monday morning, he wrapped up loose ends from last week’s 35-17 win over Northern Illinois and his connection to Idaho State.

In his opening statements, Whittingham said he was impressed with how the team played on Saturday and was glad to see the gains that the offense was making on the field as well. 

“Pleased for the most part how we played Saturday. I thought we took a step forward offensively in a lot of respects but still have a ways to go. But we did see improvement in the areas that we needed to see improvement in, particularly in the throw game with getting the ball up the field a little bit more. Special teams looked a little more settled. We didn’t do anything spectacular on special teams, but it was a good outing,” he said. 

This week’s game will be the last game the team has before diving head first into conference play, which starts on Sept. 20 when the Utes take on conference foe USC in Los Angeles. Whittingham wants to asses more aspects of the team before the team is head on in conference play. 

“I think we need to be better in short yardage situations or just converting those. We were outstanding in the red zone, we were five-for-five, with no field goal attempts, so I would like to see where Jadon Redding is and give him a few shots. Although, we would rather not because we would rather score touchdowns, but it would be nice to see him kick a few field goals this week. Defensively, I think we are doing a pretty good job. There isn’t really one glaring area that needs to get fixed, so just keep playing consistently there,” he said. 

This week will mark yet another team the Utes will face that Whittingham has a past connection to. Whittingham was a coach in Pocatello from 1988 to 1993 before coming to coach at Utah. 

“I know it was an excellent experience for me because I was able to be the special teams coordinator the first four years and then the defensive coordinator those last two. I didn’t know a whole lot about special teams, and our guy that was special teams coordinator resigned like a month or two ahead of the season, so I kind of just got thrown into that, and it turned out to be a good experience,” he said. “I coached the linebackers the entire time, so it was very good for my development and learning. I was a young coach that didn’t know what I was doing and was forced to learn pretty quickly.” 

It was fitting that Whittingham’s first game as a Bengal was against Utah, at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

“It was our opener that very first year in 1988 and I think we hung around for a quarter or two and then got run out of the stadium, which is what you expect. I do remember that it was a pretty exciting experience for me to be in a stadium that size and play a team like Utah. The environment was pretty cool,” he said. 

The Utes and Bengals are set for a 2:15 p.m. kickoff on Saturday. 


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