Kyle Whittingham was beaming like a proud papa following his team’s win over USC on Friday night. It was far from perfect play by his squad, needing a come-from-behind drive in the rain to secure the victory (complete with two 4th-down conversions), but that made it all the more sweeter for Whittingham and his staff.
“I’m very proud of our players. Great job hanging in there. Refusing to quit, just kept fighting the entire sixty minutes. Made play after play after play there at the end when we had to be making plays.”
While his running backs were strong enough to inch forward and convert on those key 4th-downs, Whittingham says it all started with the big boys up front.
“Big credit to our offensive line. Zero sacks, we ran the ball very effectively. Came up with some big 4th-down conversions time after time after time. That’s a credit to the O-line and the way the running backs were hitting it up in there.”
Coach Whittingham also explained his decision to keep his offense on the field instead of opting for a field goal late in the 4th quarter.
“That was not a gimme-field-goal..we’ve got a great field goal kicker, and he probably makes that. But we had a chance to win it in regulation, and our offense had momentum. We had guys making plays, they believed. So we made that decision to go for it and a couple plays later…we’re in the endzone.”
As for Utah’s junior quarterback Troy Williams, it’s been an inconsistent start to the season with flashes of brilliance mingled with costly turnovers and poor decisions, particularly in the redzone. Friday night, however, proved to be Williams’ night to show why he has the captain’s “C” embroidered on his jersey.
“The poise and composure that he showed was great to see. He kept his cool, never flinched. He’s taken a step forward in each of the four ballgames, tonight was the biggest step he’s taken. You can see him coming into his own.”
Whittingham also added a caveat to the high-praise for his quarterback.
“It’s only four games in, only one-third of the way through. But the upward trend he’s on now, if he continues to do that we have a chance to have a pretty good season. But, we’ll see.”
The Utes will head to Berkeley, CA next week to take on the Cal Golden Bears on Saturday afternoon.
Kyle Whittingham is 32-11 all time when he has more than a week to prepare for an opponent (excluding season openers).