SALT LAKE CITY — Kyle Whittingham was pacing across the Utah football practice field at the Eccles Football Complex Wednesday afternoon — during the opening practice of fall camp no less — when former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy broke the news about Whittingham’s good friend, former Utah and current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his long-time assistant coach Zach Smith’s alleged spousal abuse.
As such, when asked about the news, particularly that of Meyer's paid administrative leave, after Wednesday’s practice Whittingham was caught completely unawares.
“Well he is a good friend of mine and a good football coach,” Whittingham said when asked rather unspecifically about his thoughts on Meyer.
When filled in on the details, Whittingham could only say “I hadn’t heard that. Leave of absence? No, but I am sure I will talk to him in the next little bit, I didn’t hear that. That’s news to me. I’ll have to fill you in on that later if I can."
Thursday afternoon, immediately following the second day of fall camp, Whittingham was once again asked about Meyer and if he had anything new he could say about the situation.
“No,” Whittingham opined. “Urban is a close friend of mine, but it is not my place to make comments about the situation he is in. That is about all I can say right now. Fair enough?”
SO FAR, SO GOOD: After the second day of camp, Whittingham said he saw more of the same things the Utes did in the opening session.
“Good stuff, good effort,” he noted. “We pulled back a little bit today. You don’t want to come out of the gates too hard or else you end up getting fatigue and pulls and that type of thing early on. So today was quite a bit shorter — less reps, less workload. Tomorrow we’ll go back and heavy it up again and then back off.”
Whittingham added that it’s a juggling act making sure they’re not overdoing things.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve got four weeks from right now, actually, until we play,” he said.
Contributing: Dirk Facer