ON THE X FACTOR FOR THIS YEAR'S UTES • "Obviously you've got to have a healthy quarterback. When I was at Utah, we did not start and finish the same season with the same quarterback. And it's hard to do. If you can stay healthy at quarterback, your likelihood of winning games goes up. That's been the success for Utah: We're going to play good defense, we're going to run the ball well, we're not going to turn it over. Not turning the ball over comes with having a guy who is very experienced … who's not going to get thrown into the middle of a game or anything like that."
ON THE HAND INJURY TRAVIS WILSON SUSTAINED AGAINST STANFORD • "He couldn't grip the ball the next game. I think we played Arizona the next week. [They did.] He got hit again and it reopened. I was on the sidelines. It was bleeding everywhere. He just couldn't do it. He could not grip the football. And it's hard to throw when you can't grip it."
HAD WILSON BEEN HEALTHY ... • "I think we would have won at least three out of the last five games. I think we really put him on a pedestal. He's only a sophomore. He's 6'7 and he's 240, and you don't have guys like that that can move as well as he does. I think if he has a good season this year and they win eight games and he stays healthy, I think he's going to put himself on some draft boards."
ON INCOMING TRANSFER QB KENDAL THOMPSON • "I've heard he can run really well and I've met him. He seems like a nice guy. I haven't seen film on him. It's always a concern when a guy is transferring after not being able to play at Oklahoma. You go, 'OK, well why didn't they want him? What makes you think he's going to be great here?' I've rarely seen it work where a backup has transferred and dominated. Everybody talks about Russell Wilson, but he started at North Carolina State for two or three years. They've got a guy who has taken, what, 10, 12 snaps at QB coming in. [Thompson was 4 of 13 at Oklahoma.] They're going to give him every opportunity, he's a good enough athlete, but quarterback is just a different animal."
ON TREVOR REILLY, QUARTERBACK • "I've got a cannon, man. I really do. I'm 6'5, 245, and if I could go back, I would have tried to play QB. I was a backup in high school. I was playing behind a guy who ended up going to UCLA as a quarterback. [Fellow Valley Center High alum Kevin Craft.] I was a sophomore linebacker. … And I did well at it, so they said, 'Well, we have to have him on defense,' and they let me play tight end and they put in a [another] guy at quarterback who was good, but he didn't have anywhere near the physical tools that I have. But he was good. And so it's hard to become a college quarterback when you haven't taken a snap in high school. … But I really think if I would have done it in high school with my arm — I have a great arm, I can throw the football between 65 and 70 yards — and my size, I think I could have done some things."
ON THE BEST TEAM HE'S FACED • "The best team I played against in college was not a Pac-12 opponent. It was TCU in 2010. [No. 5 Utah lost at home to the No. 3 Horned Frogs, 47-7.] I mean they were, they were the best team. They had 10 or 12 NFL guys, they were coached well, they played hard. That was the best team I played against. And they ended up winning the Rose Bowl that year and they went undefeated. And we did the same thing in the Sugar Bowl."