Coach Whittingham talks with reporters.
Oct. 16, 2006
Kyle Whittingham Press Conference Quotes
October 16, 2006
On Last Week's Loss to Wyoming
"We went up to Wyoming and they stuck it to us pretty good. There's no beating around the bush. Their defense really controlled the football game. I'm very impressed with their defense. They are very worthy of their number-three ranking in the country (in total defense). We just never really could get anything under way on the offensive side of the ball.
"Defensively, we didn't play that bad. It was much like the Boise game. We gave up one real drive. The other touchdowns were either off turnovers or extremely short fields. You can't say that we played great defense, but it was not a bad outing.
"Special teams were positive again. Louie Sakoda continues to kick the ball as well as anybody in the country. The punt team has been a big weapon for us this year.
"The bottom line with this team is ... after going through things from A to Z, three or four times over ... it is very simple. When we take care of the football and don't turn it over, we're very good. When we turn it over, we stink. In our three losses we've turned the ball over 11 times and in our four wins we've turned it over four times. It's not hard to figure out. Now, why do we turn the ball over? If we had that answer, we'd have our problem solved. Part of it is when we face particularly good defenses - UCLA, Boise, Wyoming - that's when the turnovers come and I'm sure they have something to do with that. But that is the bottom line for this football team. If we take care of the football and possess the football, we've won. When we don't, it's been the exact opposite."
On This Week's New Mexico Game
"It's the same scenario we found ourselves in two weeks ago, when we were coming off a tough loss, with a short turnaround and we were playing TCU. The difference this week is that we're playing on the road. We have got to regroup. There is no shortage of work ethic on the staff or on the players' behalf. We're going to keep working, keep searching and trying to find answers. Job one this week against New Mexico has got to be possess the football. That has been our nemesis. That has led to our demise more so than any other factor, hands down. Protecting the football. That's what we've got to take care of. That's going to be our focal point - as it is each and every week - but even more so this week."
On The Offense's Struggle Against Wyoming
"We didn't do as good a job picking up zone pressure as we had done earlier in the year. They hit us with some zone pressures out of odd fronts. That had not presented a big problem in the first six games. For whatever reason in this game, we did not respond to their odd-front looks. We gave up six sacks, which is entirely too many. I think that was the number-one issue with the offense was our lack of ability to pick up the zone pressure."
On New Mexico Also Showing an Odd Front
"It is a very similar set of circumstances. It is a 3-3-5 rather than a 3-4 based scheme. But still there are a lot of similarities. One positive about the short turnaround is that there is a lot of common ground between Wyoming and New Mex scheme-wise on both sides of the ball. The offenses are very similar, as are the defenses, as far as basic structure. That's one thing you hope for in a short turnaround is some commonality, rather than playing a passing attack and then an Air Force or something where you really have to shift gears. If there is one positive note, it is that there is a lot of carryover from what we saw in Laramie compared to what we'll see Thursday."
On New Mexico's Ability to Force Turnovers
"They're second in the conference to us. They've forced 17 and we've forced 20 - which, by the way, is tied for No. 1 in the nation. We're first in the country in taking the ball away. New Mexico is second in the conference. So they're doing a good job creating those turnovers."
On Turning the Ball Over "With the possessions in a game down due to the time structure change. There are only about 12 or 13 possessions in a game now, when there used to be 14 or 15. If you throw four of those away on turnovers, it is almost impossible to win."
On His Involvement When the Offense is Struggling
"I've got a lot of faith in (offensive coordinator) Andy Ludwig and what he's done. People say play-calling and this and that. Those are the same plays we led the Mountain West Conference and were 11th in the nation (in total offense) last year. It is not schematics. I don't believe it is play selection. We've got to be better executing what is called. I am certainly privy to what's going on offensively and involved with understanding what Andy is doing and what's going on over there. Am I as involved there as defense? Absolutely not. Defense is my forte. But I have a lot of faith in Andy and what he does."
On a Perceived Lack of Passion in Saturday's Loss
"That's the scapegoat - the lack of passion and emotion. Just flip that over and say turnovers, because that's what it is. That's the bottom line. I'm convinced if you watched the game and didn't know the score, you wouldn't be able to tell a week to week difference in our level of passion. The bottom line is protect the football."