Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham and his team after the game at Rice-Eccles Stadium Thursday October 3, 2013. UCLA won the game 34-27.
Utah football: Utes stay positive despite another tough Pac-12 loss

Whittingham upbeat about defense, says his starting quarterback will be fine.

First Published Oct 04 2013 11:26 am • Last Updated Feb 14 2014 11:35 pm

Rather than focus on the negatives, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham chose to dwell on the positives that came out of the Utes’ 34-27 loss to No. 12 UCLA Thursday night.

That the Utes even had a chance to beat one of the nation’s top teams in the final minutes was an encouraging sign to the coach ,whose team next faces an even greater test in the form of No. 5 Stanford.

At a glance

No. 5 Stanford at Utah

O Next Saturday, 4 p.m.

TV » Pac-12 Network

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"We have to keep our heads up and not feel sorry for ourselves and keep fighting," Whittingham said. "That is the one thing this team does. They have character and resiliency and fight to the bitter end."

While the six interceptions thrown by quarterback Travis Wilson was undoubtably the most glaring reason the Utes lost to the Bruins, Whittingham instead said he was heartened by the defensive effort he saw.

Utah’s defense, which struggled to contain Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton and Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, looked much better against UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley — even if it surrendered the Bruin QB’s game-clinching TD run late in the game.

The Bruins scored just 10 points off Wilson’s five second-half interceptions and finished with just 404 total yards — 210 less than the nation’s second-best offense was averaging.

Few probably imagined the Utes could have delivered such a defensive performance just a few weeks after the Utes’ secondary was picked apart by Utah State and then Oregon State.

"Our secondary is starting to progress and evolve into a pretty good secondary," Whittingham said. "They did miss a few tackles, but Mike Honeycutt, Keith McGill and the other guys are improving."

If there was one negative that came out of the game defensively, it was an injury to cornerback Davion Orphey, who is one of Utah’s faster defenders.

Whittingham said he wasn’t sure what Orphey’s status will be against the Cardinal, who are averaging 221.3 yards passing and 218.0 yards rushing.


story continues below
story continues below

More concerning might be the status of Wilson, who has thrown nine interceptions against Pac-12 competition this year.

Just as he did following Utah’s 51-48 loss to Oregon State, Whittingham said not all of the interceptions could be blamed on Wilson.

"He needs to keep his head up," Whittingham said. "He has played great football for us this year. I know a few interceptions were just a fluke, interceptions where the ball was tipped, so they weren’t all on Travis. He is a tough kid, he will come back and be ready to compete."

Wilson’s struggles overshadowed another issue for the Utes: an inconsistent run game.

Starter Bubba Poole had five carries for 26 years before he was replaced by Kelvin York, who finished with 13 carries for 51 yards before he was replaced by Lucky Radley, who produced 25 yards on seven carries.

Whittingham said all of the backs were healthy and the changes were made because the Utes were searching for a back who could produce.

Unfortunately the Utes couldn’t find an effective answer and suffered yet another tough Pac-12 loss.

Still, the Utes remain upbeat, according to receiver Dres Anderson.

"That we can lose the turnover margin and still be in the game says something about the team and the heart," he said. "But we still have to find ways to make plays at the end."

lwodraska@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.