September 24, 2009

Kragthorpe knows Utah poses tough test

Recapping the UK game:
"I was proud of the way our guys played; still obviously disappointed we didn't win the game, trying to move on, it's hard to do it because I felt we had chances to win, a game we were in from start to finish and for me I wanted to win that game for our guys. I really wanted our guys to be able to experience holding the Governor's Cup again."

On facing Utah this Saturday:
"Going to Utah is going to be a great challenge; they've won 23 of their last 25 games, got eight starters coming back on defense and they're very, very good on defense. (Coach) Kyle (Whittingham) has always been very good on defense wherever he's been. I grew up with Kyle, our dads coached together at BYU, so I've known Kyle for a long time and played against him when he was at Idaho State as defensive coordinator, played against him when he was the head coach at Utah in the 2006 Armed Forces Bowl. He's done a great job there. He's very heavily involved with the defense; I think he's calling it. They're very aggressive, they're going to use a multitude of blitzes, lot of variety in their blitzes. They're going to bring it on both edges, free safety up the middle is one of their favorites; they've always used that one."

On Utah's offense:
"On the offensive side of the ball, (Terrance) Cain is playing well for them at quarterback, they've got a different group of receivers this year because they lost a lot of receivers, but it looks like they're very productive at that position. Their offensive line is big and physical, (RB Matt) Asiata is a very good back. Matt has thrown the ball out of the wildcat formation, so we have to be prepared for that. And then on special teams, they've got a capable guy there as both a punter and placekicker."

On Utah's defense:
"I thought they played extremely well on the defensive side of the ball against Oregon; Oregon's quarterback was 4-of-16, gave up a couple of big plays and a punt return for a touchdown. So we're going to have to play extremely well. It's a great place to play, extremely loud. I haven't actually been in a game there since 1978 when my dad was coaching at BYU. It's very steep, everybody is right on top of you. Won't be as many people as were at Kentucky, but I think it will be just as loud or louder. So we'll practice again this week with crowd noise; I thought our guys handled that well at Kentucky."

On the team bouncing back after an emotional loss:
"I thought our guys were great yesterday. I think there's a lot of disappointment that is still going to linger. I think giving them the day off today is good and for us as coaches to start tooking at Utah right after practice (Sunday) is helpful. Our guys will be back ready to go tomorrow. I thought they were great yesterday. Their attitude was great; it was one of the best practices we've had. We had a big run circuit we do and it usually takes about 12-14 minutes and they did it in about 10 minutes lately, so it wasn't like we were getting out there with a cattle prod trying to get them going, they were enthusiastic and I think they understand that even though we lost the game there were some good things that came out of it."

"There were some great individual performances. I thought Justin played well in his second game, Trent made a couple of huge plays, Scott Long made some great plays, Chichester made a good catch on a second-and-long to put us in a third-and-short situation, Doug made some plays for us. Vic and Bilal both ran the ball well for us. Bilal didn't get as many chances to get in the open spaces as we would have hoped. On the defensive side of the ball, we got turnovers, which was great. And outside of the tipped ball interception we did a good job taking care of the football and we've got to continue to do that in order to win games."

On UofL defensive coordinator Brent Guy's experience coaching against Utah. (Guy formerly was head coach at Utah State):
"I think it's an advantage because he's played against him the last four years. It's a little different because they have a different offensive coordinator. Anytime you have a new offensive coordinator, it's a little different even though it may be the same scheme, the same plays, there's a little bit different personality and the offense usually takes it on too. New offensive line coach. Brent knows their personnel a little bit."

On the team traveling to west to play Utah:
"I like it better. I think it's easier to go west (than West to East) because you're gaining time. People are going to make a big deal about the altitude, but we're not going to play on Mt. Everest, we're going to 4200 feet. I mean, it's not that big a deal. In fact, I think our guys will like the weather better because it's much drier; you're not going to sweat nearly as much. You're talking mid-teens in terms of humidity levels."

On missing red zone opportunities:
"When we get down in the red zone we've got to score touchdowns; field goals aren't good enough. A great example of that in the game was I felt our defense did a super job on UK's first drive; we gave up some plays, we held them to a field goal. Any time somebody has the ball inside the 10 and you can get out of there with just three it's a little bit of a victory. So we've got to put touchdowns on the board; we can't settle for field goals."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!