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Utah football: Losing is 'foreign territory' to Whittingham

Published November 12, 2012 4:07 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Facing the possibility of his first losing season as a head coach, Utah's Kyle Whittingham said during a press conference Monday the Utes' current position is 'foreign territory' to him.

However, as he has said before, he didn't expect the Utes (4-6, 2-5) to take the Pac-12 by storm either.

"We're in a new world in the Pac-12," he said. "This is the grind that is the Pac-12. The days of winning 10 games like clockwork in the Mountain West are over. That was then, this is now, and we're building something here and working toward getting the program elevated to where it needs to be. You can't compare this year to years past because it's a whole different ball game."

Before 2012, Whittingham's worst years as a head coach were in 2005 and 2011.

In 2005 the Utes finished 7-5 and 4-4 in the MWC, but went on to beat Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl. Last year the Utes went 8-5 and 4-5 in league play but had a strong finish and beat the Yellow Jackets in the Sun Bowl.

The Utes also went 8-5 in 2006, but finished with a 5-3 MWC record and had a win over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl.

This year the Utes won't qualify for a bowl game unless they win their final two games.

Whittingham said playing in a bowl game is important for the current team and for the future.

"It's important not only from a recruiting standpoint but a development standpoint," he said. "It's like getting an extra session of spring ball."

Wynn gone • Former quarterback Jordan Wynn, from Oceanside, Calif., withdrew from school and left Friday.

He had been helping freshman quarterback Travis Wilson prepare for games.

"We still talk and he texts me stuff and I know he'll always be there if I have to ask him anything," Wilson said. "He was helping me a lot and I just need to get ready and prepare a lot this week on my own."

No injury reports • Whittingham refused to give an injury report as did Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.

Utah backup running back Kelvin York missed the past two games with an ankle sprain while Arizona quarterback Matt Scott, who leads the Pac-12 in total offense (357.44), sat out Arizona's 56-31 win over Colorado with a concussion.

Junior B.J. Denker was 12-for-14 for 136 yards against Colorado in Scott's absence.

Arizona releases a weekly injury report on Thursdays.

Whittingham said the Utes were planning to face Scott but noted there wasn't much of a difference in the offense with Denker at the helm.

"There was nothing different scheme-wise," he said. "He took the reins and away they went. It was a great performance. What I understand is Scott could have played and they chose to get one more week so we expect to see him, that is what I heard second-hand anyway."