Five questions: Salt Lake Tribune’s Kyle Goon talks Utah

UCLA returns to the Rose Bowl on Saturday to host Utah, a team that — despite struggling since moving to the Pac-12 — has lost to the Bruins by only a touchdown in their last two meetings. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Kyle Goon answered five questions about the Utes.

1. Utah won four Pac-12 games in 2011, three in 2012, then two in 2013. Even if Kyle Whittingham’s job isn’t truly at risk this season, how much of a leash does he have moving forward?

We don’t have a concrete answer except to say that it is fairly tight. Our columnist Gordon Monson wrote about assistant coaches contracts in August, which haven’t been rolled over as they usually are. It seems like the baseline of success is winning six games and going to a bowl, which the Utes haven’t done in two years. If they don’t meet that standard, it seems the athletic department is poised to make at least big changes on the staff.

Whittingham has built up a lot of faith over the years by winning games and helping Utah be in position to make the Pac-12, and a lot of fans would like to see him stay. Still, many are wondering if he’s the guy who can lead the program to success in the Pac-12 era. He needs to show some kind of progress this year, which at this point is three Pac-12 wins, to keep his seat surely out of the flame.

2. After throwing nearly an interception for every touchdown over his first two seasons, Travis Wilson hasn’t been picked off yet. Does he look like a significantly better quarterback, or is he due for another turnover-heavy game? (Also, is he one bad hit away from potentially risking his career again?)

Two weeks ago, I would’ve said Travis Wilson is significantly better. The two games since have clouded the signs of progress. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Pac-12 links: Should USC hire Ed Orgeron?

– After an upset of Stanford, many USC players called for the school to retain Ed Orgeron as head coach. NBC Sports’ Chris Huston, also known as the Heisman Pundit, argues against removing the “interim” tag.

– Utah quarterback Travis Wilson’s career might be over after a post-concussion exam revealed a pre-existing neurological condition.

– Washington State has extended Mike Leach through the 2018 season.

– Arizona State’s secondary has a club called the, uh, “Bird Gang.” Members must abide by three rules. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Pac-12 links: Utah quarterback Travis Wilson struggling

– Once a rising star, Utah’s sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson doesn’t look the same these days.

– A strong column from the Arizona Daily Star’s Greg Hansen, on the Wildcats’ loss to UCLA.

– After a stint at Louisiana-Monroe, Arizona State defensive back Robert Nelson is living the dream in Tempe.

– Does the Pac-12 need an injury report? Seattle Times columnist Bud Withers says yes, citing the status of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

At a glance: No. 12 UCLA at Utah

No. 12 UCLA (3-0) at Utah (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12)
Location:
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. PT
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher, Petros Papadakis, Joel Klatt, Kristina Pink)
Radio: 570 AM (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)

Last meeting: UCLA beat Utah, 21-14, at the Rose Bowl in a game that required some key defensive stops.
2012 records: Bruins (9-5, 6-3); Utes (5-7, 3-6)

Key storylines: UCLA has had some rough trips to Salt Lake City. In 2011, the Bruins lost 31-6 on a snow-covered field. In 2007, they were shellacked 44-6 by a Utah squad that ended the season with a Holiday Bowl victory. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos talks Utah offense


UCLA defensive coordinator Lou Spanos said this year’s Utah team uses very similar personnel to the 2012 squad that lost 21-14 at the Rose Bowl. One key difference is the maturity of sophomore Travis Wilson, who went from averaging 3.3 rushing yards per game to 62.75 — third-best among conference quarterbacks. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email