Nov. 21, 2011
I was extremely proud of the way our guys hung in there Saturday and found a way to win. It was a little disappointing that we had a 10 point lead a few times in the fourth quarter. Usually we'll be able to put a team away in that situation, but credit Washington State. They found a way to get back in the game and put it into overtime, but we found a way to win it in overtime. It puts us in a really remarkable position right now. We have a chance to represent the south in the Pac-12 championship game if three things happen. We are fully aware of what those three things are. All we can control is our game against Colorado.
Against Washington State, there was not a lot of offense in the first half. We did a nice job with the fake punt. I thought Jay Hill did an exceptional job drawing up the play, and our players executed it to a tee. That provided a spark for us. John White - what can you say? He had 42 carries and did what he's been doing for us all season long. Credit the offensive line and everyone else involved as well. That seems to be the recipe for us is to get John White the football. I was disappointed in the penalties. There were far too many penalties. We've been very good in that regard through the first 10 ball games, and I was disappointed to see that surface. It was a positive win. We have Colorado now, they are coming to our place for Senior Day. We are graduating 18 seniors. Those guys have been tremendous leaders, particularly Tony Bergstrom, Chaz Walker and Matt Martinez, who are three of our captains right now. I can't say enough about the remarkable job they've done finding a way to fight back into the mix.
I think it's a good way to start in this conference, to come away with a winning record and get into a bowl game. I realize that three things have to happen, only one of which we have control over. We talked about it as a team last night. That was the one time that we talked about it, and from today forward there has been nothing but Colorado because we can't worry about what we can't control. It's great to be in this position right now. To even have a shot is a great opportunity for us.
On senior day:
It is tough to see them go. They've had so much success. Depending on how the season unfolds, they have a chance to be the winningest group in [Utah] football history. That record is held by last year's seniors. We just take it one at a time and worry about Colorado. It's bittersweet. I've enjoyed what they've given to the program, their work ethic, and all that they've contributed.
On John White nearing the all-time single-season rushing mark at Utah:
We certainly believe that he is one of the best running backs in the Pac-12. I didn't realize that he was that close to being the all-time single-season leading rusher. It would be nice to have that happen, but a win or a loss is all that really matters. I can say this - without John White, it would be a whole different ball game. We're very fortunate that he's on our team, and that also speaks to our offensive line play and the wide receiver blocking. There's a lot of help from everyone to make this happen. It would be a great honor if he can get that.
You don't want to curb aggression, but you've got to be smart. You want to be a tough, smart guy, not a tough, dumb guy. Do things right between the whistles, and don't cross over that line.
Comparing the turnaround to the one in the 2007 season:
This is every bit as satisfying as 2007. It has been one of the most rewarding seasons that I've had here, personally. To see a group that was down and out as far as conference play at 0-4, and to see them rebound and respond and show resiliency, that has been a pleasure to be a part of. There is not an ounce of quit in this program.