Utah football notes: Dennis Erickson playing it cool as Utes ready for No. 23 Arizona State
As Utah's co-offensive coordinator, Dennis Erickson always is a popular choice for media interviews following Utah's practices. The interest though is at an all-time high this week with his former team coming to town.
Everyone wants to know Erickson's thoughts on playing the Sun Devils, the team he coached from 2007-11. Erickson was fired in November of 2011 with a 31-30 record.
However, Erickson is offering as much insight into his feelings on the matchup as he is Utah's game plan for Saturday, which is to say one isn't going to get much out of him.
Erickson is insisting the game doesn't have any extra meaning and it's a typical "us against them," matchup.
"They've got a good football team and we've got our hands full," he said. "That's what it's all about."
When asked about recruiting many of ASU's players, Erickson said it was current coach Todd Graham who was doing the real work with their talent.
"I'm not there any longer and as I've said he's done a great job there," Erickson said.
Erickson is playing the game well, but it's doubtful many really believe Saturday's contest is just another game for Utah's coordinator.
With Tuesday marking the 5-year anniversary of the Utes' victory over TCU in the 2008 season, the Pac-12 Networks will commemorate the event by airing a 2-hour version of the game Thursday at 10 p.m. MST.
The No. 8 Utes beat No. 12 TCU 13-10 that day when now co-offensive coordinator Brian Johnson threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Brown with 48 seconds left. The pass completed an 80-yard drive in which Johnson was 7-of-9 passing.
Kyle Whittingham said he remembered that game well and proceeded to list many of the highlights like missed field goals, interceptions, the defensive effort and more.
"It was a great game, a classic game, one for the ages," he said.
Whittingham and Graham have been complimentary of each other's teams, noting both teams reflect the defensive attitudes of their head coaches.
"The way they are coached, they are going to attack and force the issue," Graham said of the Utes. "They are extremely strong and physical and they've gotten better every week. That tells you how well they are coached."