Utah’s bye week was a short one because they have a Thursday game following the break but Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was still excited about the amount of work his team was able to do.
The Utes took only Tuesday and Wednesday of last week off before starting preparations for Thursday’s game against the Bruins.
"I thought we made the most of it and we got a lot done," he said.
The Utes were able to recover from some of the minor injuries sustained in the 20-13 win over BYU and started their preparations for UCLA.
The biggest point of emphasis is improving the third down efforts, where Utah is just 19 of 54, Whittingham said.
"That is our biggest negative and it has to improve," he said.
Whittingham continues to be happy with the team’s attitude. The Utes had some of their best practices in the week leading up to the BYU game and showed the same effort during the recent practices.
"There is an air of confidence about the team," Whittingham said. "We need to get things rolling in the Pac-12 and we feel we’ve made some big steps as to who we are."
Defensive end Nate Orchard said the team’s effort is a product of not just the team leaders’ influence but everyone on the team.
"Everyone has to buy into what we have going on and they have," he said.
Sign of the times » Asked about the firing of USC coach Lane Kiffin, Whittingham seemed less than shocked. He also noted that UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni was fired halfway through his third season.
"It’s the nature of the profession," Whittingham said. "It’s not very patient and there is a lot of money at stake. It’s a big business. That is how it is. There is no changing it."
Game time set » The Utes will kick off against Stanford Oct. 12 at 4 p.m., according to a Monday announcement. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
It will be the first afternoon game since the Utes hosted Weber State in a noon game on Sept. 7.
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