If there is one part of the Utah Utes football team that Kyle Whittingham has always sought great improvement, then it is the offensive line. The 2008 AFCA Coach of the Year has finally found an offensive line that he likes.
Kyle Whittingham became the head coach of Utah Utes in 2004 and he has been charged with leading the team to ultimate victory ever since then. Their records were decent from the start but not entirely impressive. However, in recent seasons the team has recorded back-to-back Pac 12 South Division titles – which is a sign of things to come.
The loss of four players in their offensive line in 2017 would have been a huge setback for most teams but the Utah Utes football program is already looking good in that area. Utah’s offensive line coach, Jim Harding talked about the loss of those four players then; “Those guys were key to our success not just on the field, but off the field. They were great players for us, but more they were great leaders, strong character guys in the locker room and you lose all of that and that carries a lot of weight just like on the field.”
However, he was keen to add that the players left were up to the task and would deliver the goods for the team, “The positive is that they were able to set the example for the guys that are going to replace them, it’s a young group and they got to see how they work and how they carry themselves. We’re a pretty close group, and the foundation of our success is because of the chemistry that the group has built.”
Kyle Whittingham was definitely impressed by the performance of the offensive line during the 2019 season.
“We did some really good things along the way. We had an eight-game stretch there that was dominating as anything I’ve seen in the Pac-12. Then we just didn’t finish the last two, which is unfortunate. But they played pretty darn good during that eight-game stretch.”
He was talking about their impressive run of eight straight victories to win a consecutive South Division Pac-12 title. The team then lost to Oregon in the Conference Championship game in a game that ended 37-15 before losing to Texas 38-10 at the Alamo Bowl.
During the 2019 season, Whittingham described himself as ‘very pleased so far’ with the O-line and even compared the current offensive line to the one they had during their 2005-08 run.
“I love what we’re doing offensively,” Whittingham said Monday during his weekly news conference. “I think we had very similar results last time Andy was here [2005-08].”
“The offense’s ability to control the ball and score points is “a great complement to our defense, and they play off each other,” he added.
Whittingham will be counting on Seniors Orlando Umana, Bamidele Olaseni; Sophomores Braeden Daniels and Simi Moala; and Junior Nick Ford to get even better during the 2020 season. Other players that Whittingham has showered praise on include Keaton Bills, Johnny Maea and Sataoa Laumea – who he described as ‘star of the future with a tremendous upside.’