Tag:Kyle Whittingham
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:38 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:26 pm
 

Utah promotes QB coach Brian Johnson to OC

Posted by Chip Patterson

Utah
announced the promotion of quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson to offensive coordinator, filling the void left by Norm Chow.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham issued a statement through the school on Thursday, as part of a staff restructure following National Signing Day

“After spending the past month conducting a national search for an offensive coordinator, it became very apparent that we had the best candidate for the job right here on our own staff,” said Whittingham in a prepared statement. “Brian is a leader and a special coaching talent, just as he was a special player, and he is the right person to lead our offense.”

Norm Chow left Utah after the 2011 season to accept the head coaching position at Hawaii. Johnson, who turns 25 on Feb. 16, joined the Utes' staff following a prolific on-field career for the program. The new offensive coordinator was 26-7 as a starting quarterback (2005-2008), earning 2008 MWC Offensive Player of the Year honors as he led Utah to a 13-0 record and 2009 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama.

“I am excited that Coach Whittingham has given me this opportunity and I am prepared for the challenge,” said Johnson. “I’m looking forward to working with a great coaching staff and putting together a productive offense that will help us win a conference championship. I’ve had many good mentors as a player and a coach, including Dan Mullen, Andy Ludwig, Aaron Roderick and Norm Chow.”

Johnson will continue to coach the quarterbacks from his new position, while Roderick - wide receivers coach - will also serve as passing game coordinator. Dan Finn, former Utah graduate assistant, has been hired to coach the centers and guards while offensive line coach Tim Davis will concentrate on tackles and tight ends. Defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake will continue to serve as defensive coordinator and has been named assistant head coach.

After a rocky beginning to the 2011 season, that included an 0-4 start to Pac-12 play, the Utes won five of their final six games, finishing the season by overcoming a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to knock off Georgia Tech in overtime in the Sun Bowl.

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 6:04 pm
 

Sun Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Sun Bowl

Tevin Washington, QB, and Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech vs. Utah secondary

Utah's rushing defense ranks No. 8 nationally, giving up just 98.25 yards per game on the ground. Their front seven is solid, and they get great play from their defensive tackles. If they can get a push on the line and disrupt Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington with his reads, fakes, and pitches; the Utes can hope to force Washington to move the ball through the air.

The Yellow Jackets' sophomore quarterback completed just 46.7 percent of his passes on the season, and only threw for more than 100 yards once in his final six games. After throwing nine touchdowns in his first five games, Washington has failed to reach the end zone through the air since Oct. 1. There has been no single event to describe the drop-off - Washington has still performed well running the ball and the offense - just head-scratching passing plays where Washington simply misses the open man.

More often than not, that open man is 6-foot-5 wide receiver Stephen Hill. Hill led the Yellow Jackets in receiving this season with 785 yards on only 26 receptions. He has the frame and athletic ability to sneak downfield and make plays on jump balls. When a defense commits too many men to the run, Hill is able to beat the coverage and find open space downfield. Washington just struggled to hit him at times down the stretch of the regular season.

Utah would probably prefer the Sun Bowl be a low scoring game, giving John White IV enough carries to wear down Georgia Tech's defense. The Utes' defense has been among the best in the Pac-12 in limiting the big play, and their 17 passing touchdowns allowed is tied for second in the league. Utah has picked off opposing quarterbacks 19 times this season, fourth best among FBS teams, and could have plenty of opportunities with Washington under center. However if the secondary sleeps on Hill, the Utes could give up the big play they can't afford against a ball control team like Georgia Tech.

Keep up with all the latest on Georgia Tech and Utah at the Sun Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 5:56 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Sun Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

GEORGIA TECH WILL WIN IF: They can score early and force Utah to play catch-up. The Yellow Jackets will face one of their toughest challenges of the season in Utah's defense, which ranks ninth nationally against the run. The Utes have a strong front seven that has played well against Air Force in recent years, a team that runs an option scheme similar to Georgia Tech. But the Yellow Jackets' best weapon all season has been the big play. If Georgia Tech can break a couple big yardage plays early in the game and get an early lead, they will force Utah out of their comfort zone offensively. The Utes would love to play Georgia Tech in a low-scoring affair, with both teams grinding out hard yards on the ground. But the Yellow Jackets scored more than 20 points in 10 of their 12 contests this season, and could force Utah into turning to their shaky passing game for offense.

UTAH WILL WIN IF: The can establish a dominant rushing attack to match Georgia Tech's pace. The good news for Utah's defense is that offensive coordinator Norm Chow will likely expect running back John White IV to carry 30+ times against the Yellow Jackets. White was the Pac-12's second-leading rusher this season with 1,405 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has been highly effective when healthy, and the junior college transfer is expected to be ready to play after injuring his ankle early in the season finale loss to Colorado. The offensive line has struggled at times with pass rush, and Al Groh's 3-4 scheme has given quarterbacks fits with their multiple blitz packages. If Utah can allow the run to set up the pass, they will take a lot of responsibility out of the hands of quarterback Jon Hays.

X-FACTOR: Preparation time. Two of the four teams that defeated Georgia Tech this season had at least 10 days to prepare for Paul Johnson's offense. Players from those games admitted to benefiting from the extra time to study the different reads and fakes involved in the complex option scheme. Players are given time off after the bowl match ups are announced, but there is definitely an advantage to having 27 days to prepare for a team as unique as Georgia Tech. Johnson's Yellow Jackets have beaten plenty of teams with extra time to prepare, but the long break does seem to favor the Utes in this situation.

Keep up with all the latest on Georgia Tech and Utah at the Sun Bowl Pregame

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 12, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 4:06 pm
 

Arizona State interested in Whittingham

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Arizona State's search to replace Dennis Erickson has been an interesting one to follow. The school was originally in talks with, and made an offer to, Kevin Sumlin before those fell apart and Sumlin eventually ended up with Texas A&M. Then there was June Jones, who was actually being reported as the school's new head coach, but that deal fell apart at the last second as well.

So now Arizona State remains without a head coach while its conference mates like Washington State and Arizona have made big splash hires with Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez. So where are the Sun Devils turning their attention to now?

Multiple reports have the school being interested in Utah's Kyle Whittingham. The Arizona Republic confirmed the interest on Monday.

Whittingham has been at Utah since 1994, moving up the ranks to become head coach in 2005 after some guy named Urban Meyer left to take a job at Florida. The Utes are 65-25 under Whittingham, including a 13-0 season in 2008 that ended with a 31-17 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. However, Utah went 7-5 in its first season as a member of the Pac-12.

Whether Whittingham is interested in leaving Utah for Arizona State is a big question as well. He signed a 5-year contract worth $6 million following that Sugar Bowl victory, and still has two years left on the deal. So unless Arizona State is willing to offer a significant raise, I'm just not sure Arizona State is even much of a step up the coaching ladder for Whittingham, especially considering the history he has with the Utah program.
Posted on: October 10, 2011 11:44 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 11:45 pm
 

Utah QB Wynn to have surgery, out for the year

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn will have surgery on his left shoulder and will miss the remainder of the season, the school announced Monday night. He suffered the injury in the first half of Utah’s loss to Washington.

“Obviously, this is disappointing news for Jordan and the entire team,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “Jordan worked incredibly hard to come back from his shoulder surgery last winter and we are confident he will take the same approach with his rehab this time around. The good news is that he is eligible for a redshirt season."

This is the second season-ending shoulder surgery for Wynn, a three year starter for the Utes. He injured his right shoulder last year and missed the bowl game against Boise State.

The junior has passed for 727 yards and six touchdowns this season with two interceptions this season.

Junior Jon Hays will take over as signal-caller, taking over for Wynn against Washington and making his first start against Arizona State - a game in which he threw three interceptions. He joined the program over the summer after Nebraska-Omaha dropped its football program. Utah has lost six of their last 10 games and will play at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Posted on: October 8, 2011 7:06 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Arizona State 35, Utah 14

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ARIZONA STATE WON: If the Sun Devils (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) wanted everybody to take them seriously, they had to win on the road before a big game against Oregon next week and they accomplished that and more on a chilly afternoon at Rice Eccles Stadium. As usual, the defense was a big factor in the win and made life miserable for the Utes' offense and quarterback Jon Hays, who was making his first career start. ASU's first trip to Utah (2-3, 0-3 Pac-12) in 34 years - this time as conference foes - ended just as they wanted it to: walking off the field victorious.

WHY ARIZONA STATE WON: It's normally not like a Dennis Erickson team to execute in all three phases of the game - offense, defense and special teams - but they did after halftime despite 16 penalties for 134 yards. Brock Osweiler was 26 of 41 for 325 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. The defense forced five turnovers, two fumbles and three interceptions, and held Utah to just 318 yards. Special teams also helped out, grabbing one of those fumbles on a kick return and  Alex Garoutte hit two field goals.

WHEN ARIZONA STATE WON: After it looked like Utah had some momentum in the second half, ASU snatched it right back. Following a drive that ended up with a field goal, the Utes fumbled the ball on a kick return and Osweiler turned that into a touchdown pass and a two point conversion to make it 21-14 in the third. On the very next drive, Hays was intercepted by Clint Floyd and Arizona State once again turned that into a touchdown. Three straight series for Utah ended in a turnover at that point.

WHAT ARIZONA STATE WON: As the only Pac-12 South team without a conference loss, the Sun Devils have pretty much won the division already. They've already beaten USC, who's ineligible anyway, and a very weak schedule ahead of them after a trip to Eugene in what could be a Pac-12 Championship Game preview. 

WHAT UTAH LOST: Kyle Whittingham talked optimistically about his team's chances in their first year in the Pac-12 but they still have yet to get over the hump and actually win a game in their new conference. It's not like they're getting blown out because they have been in every game this season, it's just that they are not closing out in the second half at all. They'll need to refocus this week before hitting the road for two games at Pitt and at Cal.

THAT WAS CRAZY: After Utah took a 14-10 lead, Arizona State scored 18 unanswered points to move to 5-1 on the year.

Posted on: August 25, 2011 12:19 pm
 

Josh Gordon transfers to Utah

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last week it was reported that Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon had left the program after being suspended indefinitely in July for violating team rules. This after an arrest last October in which police found Gordon in his car outside a Taco Bell with marijuana. At the time it was also reported that Gordon could be headed to Utah.

Well, it seems Gordon is no longer headed toward Utah, as he is already there and was practicing with his new teammates on Wednesday.

"We did our homework. We did our research. We talked to many, many coaches and people associated with Josh," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told the Deseret News. "We felt that he deserves a second chance and we're going to give him that.

"He's here. He's a very, very talented kid, that's obvious." 

Of course, since Gordon is a transfer, he'll have to sit out the 2011 season. He is still able to practice with the team and Whittingham said he'll compete for a starting job next spring. 

Gordon caught 42 passes for 714 yards and 7 touchdowns for Baylor in 2010. 
Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:46 am
 

Utah has seen 'big spike' in recruiting

Posted by Chip Patterson

With their official arrival in the Pac-12, Utah can no longer be thought of as "BCS Busters." But their new AQ status has not just brought an easier path to high-profile bowl game, but also had immediate impact in recruiting. Head coach Kyle Whittingham explained the effect the jump has had on the recruiting trail on Tuesday while meeting with the media at Pac-12 Media Days.

"We've had a big spike in recruiting," Whittingham said. "For example, the announcement was made back in June a year ago, within ten days after the announcement we had several verbal commits. Many of which those players would not have been able to get in on without BCS Conference affiliation."

Here are some more highlights from Utah's time with media on Tuesday in Los Angeles:

- When asked about opening the conference schedule with USC, Whittingham called the experience "baptism by fire." The Utes will have their eyes on the Pac-12 South title, and what better way to start than to face the team picked to finish first in the division.

- Bringing in Norm Chow and switching offensive philosophies will benefit quarterback Jordan Wynn. According to Whittingham, Wynn mostly played under center in high school and should be more comfortable with the new system. That comfort will help Wynn, who will be making his way back to a full workload during camp after recovering from shoulder surgery.

- When asked about not drawing Oregon or Stanford in the conference schedule, Whittingham pointed out that while that would have worked out nicely a year ago, there still is no telling who will be the teams that will rise to the top in 2011.

"Every year is its own entity," Whittingham remarked. "Who is going to be the overachieving teams this year are the teams that emerge and come to the forefront and vice versa. So it remains to be seen."
 
 
 
 
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