Kyle Whittingham talks about the Wyoming and New Mexico games at his weekly press conference.
Nov. 12, 2007
We played well Saturday in all three phases of the game. I'm very pleased with how our offense moved the ball against a stingy Wyoming defense. We were able to get a good running game established with Darrell Mak. Brian Johnson's numbers were good, he did a good job managing the offense. Defense was the storyline, we got turnovers, sacks and I am pleased with the way there were able to play a difference in the ball game. Special teams was solid. Overall, we played solid football.
We've got to take care of our own business the last three weeks and get some help from other teams. New Mexico has been extremely difficult for us. Recently these guys have had our number and there is no way we are taking this game lightly. We are doing our usual preparation. We've got to get ready to play a tough football team. Their teams are physical, hard-nosed and tough. We have to keep moving forward, since both teams have the exact same record.
On Saturday's onside kick:
In hindsight, I shouldn't have done it. We had worked two weeks on it and wanted to find a spot to use it. You get caught up emotionally in a football game, you want to be competitive and the juices are flowing, but when I had a chance to digest it, if I had to do it again I wouldn't. We weren't trying to run the score up - in the fourth quarter we ran the ball 18 out of 19 snaps - but the onside kick was a bad decision.
On the changing personality of the team with injuries:
I can't say what this team would have done if we had not had the injuries. I thought going into the season we had a chance to be good, but when key injuries happened early, that necessitated change. The guys that we lost are darn good football players. I don't know if the team would have had the same personality and been the same type of team or not.
On New Mexico:
New Mexico is traditionally very fast and athletic. Their weaponry on offense is outstanding. They have two receivers who are leading the conference (Marcus Smith and Travis Brown). Combine that with a solid offensive line which has enabled them to be productive on offense. On defense, they run a 3-3-5, which is a departure from the norm and different from anything else we see. This is a week where our offense won't see much of our defense because of the speed and athleticism and the uniqueness of the scheme that they play.
On whether he thinks the team has reached its peak:
I don't know. I know we've been consistent the last 5-to-7 weeks. A lot of young guys keep getting better and better each week and that's been a big part of our success. I hope we can play to the level we need to. I hope we haven't peeked yet, but if we have let's stay at that peak.
On `trick' plays:
We've got a bag of gadget plays, as does everyone else. If we get too much time on our hands during the bye week, we tend to dust those off. All of them are Coach Ludwig's creation. We went into the game wanting to use 4-or-5 of them. We have an endless supply and keep bringing them out. Most are scheme specific: they are good against what we're seeing that particular week. When we do things like the fake punt, those are scouted down the road and teams have to account for that. My guess is that we won't see as much heat in the punt game because they have to account for that. There are long reaching effects to these things.