I just watched his most recent presser, and it got me thinking about some things…
For years, especially since our invitation to the P12, I have heard complaints about Kyle Whittingham’s coaching miscues and quirks- namely offensive inefficiency, a more conservative approach and inability to win “the big games”. At times some have even called for his firing, and many have seemed to think he had a definite ceiling as a coach.
I remember being somewhat disappointed when he rehired Ludwig, but now that is arguably the biggest difference-maker this season. Aside from the SC game, we seem to be firing on all cylinders, albeit against a relatively weak schedule. Whittingham’s philosophy finally seems to be working, and I don’t think I’d rather have anyone at the helm, despite what I may have said in the past.
My question is, how has this season affected your perception of him? Has anything changed for you?
I am among those who voiced skepticism in the past. I’m sure he is a decent man. I think Ludwig was an excellent choice. I think we owe it to him and the staff for the integrity of the program. I would like to see exemplary performance on and off the field. I think he really cares. That’s probably the most important thing.
coaching is all about what have you done for me lately. I think he rightfully deserves criticism about lack of offense for many years. He missed the mark on many hires and it did seem to limit the team. That being said he has done a fantastic job in the transition from G5 to P5. Tough transition to make.
Often fans think football success is just commitment of money to get the right guy and like to think it is that simple. Watching other schools with much greater resources struggle to pay for the right guy multiple times without success does not diminish this thought much. However, by saying this I don’t mean to suggest great patience for a very nice guy that just cannot create success. Still, many do not understand how hard it is, at any level, to go to football practice, watch a team and have useful things to add that actually makes a team better. Before any understanding about football, it is critical to be very skilled in how to relate to, understand and communicate to many, many different kinds of personalities. But as we judge our own admin, it is important to realize all the other conference schools as well as anyone else we play are all desperately trying to create the same success that will only come to only one.
In my view, we have been very lucky recently with our football coaches. From a very skinny view of coach’s clinics and watching some practices, they seem to be very good at providing actual help to players that helps them get better. From the seats, year after year, they seem to be very good at taking raw recruits up to levels that generally is not expected given their HS talent level. Being the FNG in the conference, reality sadly demands that, for the most part, Utah recruits after half the teams in the conference have mostly filled their roster. Becoming competitive and then winning in that environment is quite an accomplishment, in my eyes. We could easily have moved on from a very good coach into a situation of disappointment or we could have demanded change and already had multiple national championships. I do know by the 25 folks that sit around me at games that it is impossible to make all of them happy with a third down play (even if it goes for longer than needed), so it is not likely that there will ever, ever be a hire that all agree is best.
For me, it would be scary to think how good Whitt could do if positioned at one of the blue chip schools. Like Meyer, he would likely be hard to stop given that level of resources. Do you think Whitt would not have similar results if he moved on to Ohio State? I feel lucky to have the staff and team he has developed at a mid-level Pac school.
My big beef - and my only one - with KW was about his failure for many years to have a decent offense and to hang on to an offensive coordinator. It was ridiculous. It went on and on, and I was worried that he had hit his plateau— i.e., we were never going to break through to the next level. Beginning in 2018 that started to turn around. In 2019 he seems to have found his way, at least for now, and I hope that continues.
None of us know 100% of what goes on in the program day to day, but a few years ago there were some former players that made some claims that were a bit concerning to me, which I admit led me to questioning whether he was the right guy. The faltering every season in November was frustrating too, but that likely had more to do with depth than anything. If we’re over that hump recruiting wise I don’t see why we couldn’t be in the hunt for the conference championship most years.
I could certainly live with that, especially if we occasionally flirt with the playoffs. We are very fortunate to have Whitt running this program.