Kyle Whittingham: We Now Have To Bounce Back
PASADENA, CA- Not much went the way the Utes would have like them to in Pasadena. Head coach Kyle Whittingham acknowledged a mixed bag performance- some good, some…not so good, but made clear Utah football needs to bounce back.
What Whittingham said in his post-game press conference is true. Utah must bounce back. They have to bounce back from their disappointing 42-32 outing against UCLA. It does not get easier from here. Next week they host the #6 ranked USC Trojans and they certainly will not feel sorry for the Utes.
Whittingham And The Bounce Back
Whittingham noted that the Utes are currently sitting in a very familiar position to last season at 4-2 where decisions need to be made. They are standing at the corner of “walk” and “don’t walk” (inside family joke) and need to make a choice about how they wish to proceed.
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“We talked about that in the locker room,” Whittingham said. “This is very reminiscent of last year and we picked ourselves off the mat last year and regrouped. We came back focused and played some really good football. That’s what we have to do this year. It’s how you respond. Everyone would love to go undefeated and at the end of the day there is maybe one undefeated team in the country at the end of the regular season and so you have to respond. Everyone has to respond to losses at one point or another. You just have to hope it’s not too often.”
Last season the Utes were sitting 3-2 this week coming off of what ended up being a well-timed BYE to deal with the stunning and tragic murder of teammate Aaron Lowe. Ironically, Utah was in LA this very weekend a year ago, only taking on USC after their BYE, though it was a much different result. Still, there are similarities to draw upon and Whittingham knows his team has more to give still.
“We now have to bounce back.” Whittingham said. “We are now very eerily in a very similar situation as we were last year at about this time. I can’t remember exactly what the situation was record-wise, but it was very similar. Very similar. We are 4-2 and I’m willing to bet a lot of money no one in this conference goes undefeated. There are too many good teams and so by no means are we out of contention.”
Now is the time for the Utes to re-evaluate and decide how they want their season to go. They will be hosting a 6-0 USC team next weekend in Salt Lake City who will most certainly want revenge for the 42-26 hurt the Utes put on them at home in the Coliseum a season prior.
“The key now is for us to pick ourselves up, go back to work on Monday and address our deficiencies and become a better football team next week,” Whittingham said. “It doesn’t get any easier next week. I can tell you that for certain. We have a good team coming into Rice-Eccles next week and we have to be ready to play our A-game and we will be. Our guys will bounce back and play well next week.”
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