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Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs Utah

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Kyle Whittingham

Tyler Huntley

Devin Lloyd

Bradlee Anae

Zack Moss

Utah Utes

Texas 38

Utah 10

HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Pretty much give you the same summary that I gave our football team in the locker room there: It was a very disappointing ending to a very good season. This team won 11 games.

When you judge the entire body of work throughout the course of the season, these things, these guys accomplished some very good things. You know, the senior class, obviously it’s not the way we wanted to send them out.

But the last two football games, we got outplayed and we got out-coached. We have to figure out our problems and go back to work, get better, improve, continue to improve in all areas, but does not tarnish one iota of what the senior class accomplished. These guys have left their mark on Utah Football. Third-highest win total in Utah Football history, and keep in mind, the other two win totals were in a different conference at a different time. Way, way different. This is apples and oranges, what these guys did, as far as regular season and how they handled their business.

Proud of each of them. We’re going to have a lot of representation from these seniors in the Combine, NFL Draft. There’s a lot of these guys that are going to have a chance to play football for a long time. The rest of them that don’t have that opportunity all have their degrees or will have their degrees.

Like I said, very proud of these guys. A shame we didn’t finish stronger. Nobody is happy in our locker room. We’re all feeling disappointed, but like I said, it’s the time of year now where you judge everything and you’ve got to take a step back and keep things in perspective, and understand what you accomplished and what your deficiencies are and what you need to work ongoing forward.

So, questions.

Q. For coach and for Zack, offensively, especially the first four or five drives what was going on out there that you couldn’t seem to get any traction?
ZACK MOSS: We just wasn’t able to find a rhythm. We wanted to soften them in the run game and try and reduce some of that blitzing that they were doing. They were blitzing pretty much 80 percent of the game, so we tried to, you know, soften that up, but we weren’t able to do that. So you know, we had some offensive woes throughout the game.

HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Zack hit it right on the head. We didn’t make them play for the amount of blitzing they were doing. We have to be able to pick it up, get the ball down the field and make them pay. We didn’t do that. We didn’t do that and we weren’t handling the pressure like we needed to. They were playing all single-cut. The DBs were jumping on the single cuts, we needed to protect longer to get some double-cuts in there and we didn’t, and that was the theme of the whole evening. We just didn’t handle their pressure like we should have.

Q. Kyle, the whole season you were able to do really well on the offense, like just mentioned, the offensive line just not being able to pick up the blitzes. Was it something play-calling wise that changed that?
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: This particular game?

Q. These last two games.
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: You know, we got the same, you know, plays — not exactly, we change week-to-week a little bit but the same core group of plays. We didn’t play as well in the trenches in the last two games as we have or as we did in the first, what, 12 games? What did we play, 14 games?

The first 12 games we were much better in that regard. Defensively, we weren’t good enough tonight. It was special teams, offense, defense. There was no one phase that you point your finger at and so like I said, coaching. We’ve got to be better coaches.

Q. How much did you miss Jaylen and Julian, especially with Sam being able to do what he does?
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Certainly you miss those guys, but they weren’t there and injuries are part of the game and next man up. Jaylen decided that he needed to sit this one out. You’re certainly going to miss two of your best players, but nobody cares. Like I said over and over, the coaches that sit there and whine about injuries drive me nuts because nobody cares. You’ve just got to go out and get it done.

Q. You spoke during the eight-game winning streak, every game was a Championship Game because you needed to win to win the Pac 12 South. Can you put your finger, after eight, nine and ten were hard to get or impossible to get?
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Well, not impossible. For whatever reason, we were never able to get in a rhythm offensively the last two ballgames and we weren’t doing anything, really, as well defensively as we have done all year long: Tackling, covering, playing the run, gap control. Just for whatever reason, the last two games of the season, we were not ourselves.

Q. Bradlee, this is for you and actually for all of you guys, but we’ll start with you, Bradlee. What will you remember about this team, in light of the way the season ended what will you take with you that you’ll remember most?
BRADLEE ANAE: Just the love the guys have for each other. First thing everybody did was walk around and shake each other’s hands. You know, just goes to show you, it’s like the bond is there. It’s a disappointing ending, but the guys will always stick together, even in hard times.

Q. Devin, you’re the one underclassman in this group. How does this loss leave you feeling going into next season?
DEVIN LLOYD: I mean, you just want to go out and I mean, the seniors put in so much time into this program and whenever you’re not able to go out there and finish it for them, it’s just a failure.

So I mean, obviously it hurts, but we’ve got to come back and we’ve got to learn from this. Learn from our mistakes. But obviously you wish we could have got it done for them because they are the ones that got us here.

Q. For the three seniors, what this team might look like next year, can you speak to how healthy this program is with you guys leaving at this point?
ZACK MOSS: Those guys know the blueprint, you know, from the years and the work that we put in over the years. They know what it takes to be here. You know, going back-to-back championship games. Being South champions back-to-back years, they know the recipe.

It was different when we came in. We didn’t know that recipe. We had to learn and work through that, but now they, you know, have something they can work on. So I mean, I’m going to be excited to continue to watch the guys work.

Q. For Zack and then for Tyler, when the next high school football star from Florida calls you for advice and says, “What about Utah,” what do you tell them?
ZACK MOSS: It’s a great place to come and mature as a person, on and off the field.

If you’re really serious about your craft, this is a great place to come. The coaches push you on and off the field, and especially in the classroom. Me and all these guys up here, except for Lloyd, were able to graduate in three and a half years, and that’s the biggest thing. We can play football for the next two years, ten years, whatever it may be, but we always have our degree and we always have something to fall back on.

A lot of guys at a lot of different schools, coaches don’t really push them that hard to go ahead and get something like that, so this is a great place to just go ahead and mature and better your life.

TYLER HUNTLEY: Just like Zack said, it’s a place where you can come be great, and really leave your legacy and stuff like that. But just telling kids from Florida that it’s okay to take a risk to go across the country and you know try to accede what me and Zack kind of did and Demari.

Q. Tyler, from your perspective, what were you seeing on the field that Texas was doing defensively that just really didn’t let you all get going?
TYLER HUNTLEY: I just felt like they was just playing a little bit harder than us. They stopped us on key downs, third downs, fourth down, and that’s what happened.

Q. Can I ask all three seniors — Tyler, let’s start with you. What did you notice after the first eight games and all of the sudden things changed? You put yourself in a position and a lot of things to play for.
TYLER HUNTLEY: I feel like we just had great confidence those first eight games. We were just focused, and as the year started going on, injuries and stuff that like changed our schedules and how we prepared and stuff, and I just feel like this last game we took more of a vacation than really preparing for a game. That really came to bite us in the butt.

ZACK MOSS: Those first eight games, or that eight-game stretch, you know, it was — you know, you can’t figure out — what’s the difference from the last two games we played, but it’s just something different about each and every guy, even the back-ups. Having some injuries also affected that.

But I’m not going to sit here and make any excuses on what was the difference between this and that. But it was whatever it was, though?

Q. Did it get to be a challenge to keep something going like that, week after week after week?
BRADLEE ANAE: Yeah, I think we had, what was it, that eight-game stretch we had our foot on the gas pedal and took it off towards the end. I think that’s what it was, as far as intensity on both sides of the ball. Kind of just let off on that part.

Q. What did you think ever the way that Guidry played? When he did get caught in a one-on-one situation, somebody would make a crazy catch.
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, good throws, good catches. He had good position. Just had to do a little better job finding the football. He was in position and wasn’t able to find the ball two or three times. That’s the toughest single skill in football is a deep ball that a DB has to find and locate at top speed and make a play.

I want to kind of piggyback on the question and answers to the eight-yard game streak. We play our best, but Oregon is a tremendous team and Texas might be the best 7-5 team in the country, at least talent-wise, or 8-5 now, talent-wise. Got to give them credit; they played well, both those teams and executed exceptionally well and that has a lot to do with it, as well as us not doing our part. They were really good teams we played.

Q. Texas had a lot of frustrations this year, 7-5 year. Did it seem to you like they played angry and wanted to unleash a lot of frustrations?
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Well, they were well prepared. They played hard. They were well-coached. I don’t know if angry is the right word but they certainly played with a purpose and I didn’t think we came out there and you know, sleep-walked. We didn’t play as well as they did.

Like I said, you look at their guys, man for man, talent-wise, that’s got to be one of the best, if not the best, 7-5 teams in the country.