Q&A: Utah coach Kyle Whittingham

August, 1, 2012
8/01/12
12:00
PM ET
With Utah kicking off camp on Thursday, we thought it'd be nice to catch up with the always-accomodating Kyle Whittingham to talk some defensive depth, quarterback issues and whether we should believe the hype surrounding the Utes.

Let's get to the most important question first: Would you go hunting with Mike Leach?

Kyle Whittingham: Absolutely. The entertainment value alone is priceless.

There were some conflicting reports last week that Jordan Wynn's job might not be secure. Is he your starting quarterback or is the job up for grabs?

[+] EnlargeUtah's Kyle Whittingham
Russ Isabella/US PRESSWIREUtah coach Kyle Whittingham says he would go hunting with Mike Leach.
KW: Jordan is our starter. But in this program, everyday is a competition. Nobody's job is etched in stone. It's all about what you've done lately. Jordan had a very good spring and performed as well -- or better -- than he ever has in this program. But the talent level at the quarterback position has been increased dramatically. All I was trying to point out was that the gap has closed and the level of competition is extremely high at that position. You have to play well to hang onto your job. But Jordan is the guy going in as the starter.

With Brian Blechen out for three games and Keith McGill taking a redshirt year, how confident are you in the secondary and its depth?

KW: It certainly is something that's not ideal for us, to be in that situation. But we've got a lot of good players in the program. When one guy is out of the lineup, the next guy's got to step up and pick up the slack and get the job done. We fully expect that to happen.

Quade Chappuis is most likely going to step in for Brian?

KW: Most likely. He's the guy right now that's scheduled to fill in for Brian.

Nate Fakahafua is preparing to start for the first time. What does he bring to the defensive line that complements Star Lotulelei and the Krugers?

KW: Nate plays with a great deal of quickness and athleticism. Speed is his primary asset. He's a strong kid -- about 245 pounds. Since he's been in the program he's probably added 40 pounds to his frame. He was a wide receiver and defensive end in high school, which is a strange combination. He's a speed rusher and he relies on his athleticism and agility to get the job done.

Same question for V.J. Fehoko. What were the indications he's ready to take over as the starting middle linebacker?

KW: V.J. is a very physical middle linebacker. He plays the run exceptionally well. He's tough at the point of attack and really a bit of a throwback. He's an old-school middle linebacker. A plugger type.

Some of these position battles -- the rover linebacker, the two offensive tackle spots -- when do you want to have those settled by?

KW: The sooner the better, obviously. We don't have a time frame. We're hoping there is some natural separation that occurs and the sooner that happens in camp, the better off we'll be. I'd say, if we get to the point where we are a week out from the game and there hasn't been a clear-cut division, we'll have to make a decision at that time.

You guys are getting a lot of preseason love -- full disclosure -- a lot of it on this blog. Do you feel its deserved?

KW: Well, last season we felt was a good transition to the Pac-12. It was a mixed bag. There were a lot of positives, but there were definitely some negatives in the season as well. We'd like to be more consistent this year. We were too hot and cold last season. We need to develop more consistency in our play this season and that's our primary objective.

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