Coach Whittingham praised the MUSS and the fans for their support against UCLA.
Sept. 17, 2007
Solid performance against UCLA. I thought we had guys step up. We talked about that early in the week, how needed guys to step up and get some thing going in the right direction.
Offensively, take your pick of several guys who did a nice job for us. Tommy Grady, Darrell Mack, who was the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Offensive line as a whole did an outstanding job. The unsung hero was Caleb Schlauderaff. A redshirt freshman guard, he had to step in when when (starting left guard) injured and ankle and had to come out. Caleb played rest of the way and had an outstanding performance in his first significant playing time.
Defensively, we had guys flying around. We were able to get good pressure on the quarterback. We had five sacks and five takeaways, and when you come away with 10 impact plays, things are going to be pretty good for you. Robert Johnson was the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week. An outstanding performance in his first start as a Ute. He had a phenomenal play on the goal line that was probably the turning point of game.
Special teams was solid. We out-punted them and had better kickoff returns. Louie Sakoda, another stellar performance. He was 5-for-5 in field goals. The return game, Bryce McCain did a nice job.
We had a lot of positives in this game. Our fans were outstanding. I've been here a long time and that may be the most vocal, energetic crowd I have ever seen. The players fed off of that. They caused UCLA several miscues. Between the MUSS and the Ute faithful we had outstanding home field advantage. Rice-Eccles is quickly becoming one of the most difficult places to play in the country.
On trying new things:
I think each week is a different challenge and a different set of circumstances. You have to continue to evolve. The more wrinkles we can throw at opponent without tricking ourselves, you get too far ahead of the game you end up not executing very well. I thought both coordinators did a great job with the game plan, but it all comes down to the execution of that plan, and we executed very well last week. We will continue to evolve and continue to put new wrinkles in every week, but no wholesale changes.
On Brian Johnson:
As of now the status is gradual return, which means we'll take a look at him. We'll watch him throw today and watch him throughout the week and see how he's progressed. With Tommy (Grady) playing the way he did the second half of Air Force and on Saturday, we can be a little more conservative in bringing him back. The longer we can delay his return, less risk of there is of re-injury, so want to make sure we do the right thing.
On Corbin Louks:
He will be a part of our package each and every week. He adds a similar spark as the (Eric) Weddle packaged added last year. Corbin knows the offense, it's just a matter of us picking what segment of plays we want to construct for him. He added a big spark in the touchdown pass, from true freshman Louks to true freshman Dallin Rogers. Eight true freshman really contributed for us, they bring a lot of passion.
They have similar offense to us, a spread attack with four wide receivers on the field. Ryan Wolfe and Casey Flair are very good players, Aaron Straiten is a dangerous player also. Their quarterback, a redshirt freshman, Travis Dixon has done a nice job, he is their guy. That's really their strength, the four wide receivers.
Defensively, Beau Bell is the heart and soul of their defense. He gives them a tremendous advantage. He's all over the place. You have to be very aware of where he's lining up, he always makes an impact.
On returning to the field after a big win:
Division I wins are hard to come by and I want the guys to celebrate and know that they accomplished something significant. But, we've got to get right back to the grindstone. We're going to have a good time watching the game today, but tomorrow it's business as usual. One thing about a football team, constructive criticism seems to take better after a win, so we are going to discuss some of that.