Head coach Kyle Whittingham talks about rivalry week, and about last week's game against New Mexico.
Nov. 19, 2007
Opening Statement: It was a good win against New Mexico. I'm proud of the way our team hung in there. In a way, it was similar to last year's game against them. We had a 14-point lead at the half and it almost evaporated away. But, we fought through their surge, held on, and we got the momentum back on our side.
Defensively, I thought we played well. The only score New Mexico had against us was on an 11-yard drive off of one of our turnovers.
Offensively, I didn't think we were as sharp. We did enough of win. We won the time of possession, the turnover margin and we controlled the ball well. But, in order to win next week, we're going to need to play better offensively.
I thought the punting game did really well. Both the Utah and New Mexico punters did a good job. Their punter hung the ball especially high, and I think that was their goal. All around, it was a great punting display. Two of our four turnovers were on special teams and that really gave us the momentum of the game back.
Darrell Mack rushed for his 1,000th yard this season last week, and he only needed five yards so that was expected. He wasn't as productive last week as he had been in the past, but I thought the running game was adequate.
Now, we have our rivalry game. BYU is playing well, they come in to the game on a winning streak as well. But, for whatever reason, the visiting team seems to be the favorite in the end. I believe that 11 of the last 15 games have gone to the visiting team.
On his first game as head coach at BYU
That was a hard-fought game. Brett Ratliff made his first start in that game and did a good job. He rushed very well for us, and I think that hurt BYU. It was a back-and-forth game. As I recall, that's where we unveiled the circus defense that we used on the last play, and the ball floated away harmlessly to end the game.
On how to motivate the team This game just feeds off of itself. This is a big game in the state of Utah and there's no need to use anything else than that. The juices are flowing. The presence of this game is all we need.
On family that may be Cougar fans Zero. There are zero Cougar holdovers in my family. You can go and ask them all.
On the final play of last year's game I haven't watched that tape yet. I haven't watched it. I've seen the highlight a couple times, unfortunately, but I haven't watched.
The defense we used on the last play last year was a different from the year before, a different structure. It was what we call our Cowboy package. It was a drop-eight structure. So it's different than the play you saw on the last play of the previous year.
On preparing for the rivalry Preparation week hasn't changed at all. If there was a better way to prepare for a team, than we'd prepare that way every week. And so, we do our normal practice model. Our meeting times and everything stay the same. If there was a better way to do it, we wouldn't save it for just this week. It's business as usual.
On how the players handle the media prior to rivalry week I think the players handle the media well. I think they are pretty savvy. Players will be players and some of them make statements. But, as players, that's acceptable. You don't want it to happen. You don't want to be too flippant or blatant, but players get excited and they're competitive. That happens from time to time.
On the "bag" of trick plays this week Well, our bag of special plays is always there. It's circumstantial - field position, down and distance, complexion of the game and so forth. So, we'll have our usual four-to-six plays, as I'm sure they'll have in their bag. When and if you bring those out is purely circumstantial.
On both teams coming into the game on a winning streak I think someone told me that four-game winning streaks was the previous best for both teams coming into this game. So, it certainly makes for intrigue with the conference championship implications still unknown.