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‘It’s a brutal business’: Utes react to the firing of USC coach Clay Helton

Calling Helton a friend and a ‘heckuva football coach,’ Kyle Whittingham confident former USC coach will land on his feet

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, right, shakes hands with USC head coach Clay Helton following their game, Oct. 20, 2018.
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, right, shakes hands with USC head coach Clay Helton following their game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Salt Lake City. On Monday, the Trojans parted ways with their head football coach.
Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham praised Clay Helton, who was fired as USC’s head coach on Monday.

“Clay’s a friend of mine. I think he’s a heckuva football coach. It’s a brutal business. When you sign up for this business, you know that this is part of the deal,” he said. “Right, wrong or indifferent, it’s reality. I wish him the best. I’m sure he’ll land on his feet because he’s a quality coach and a quality person.”

Whittingham wasn’t surprised that the Trojans, who lost 42-28 at home to Stanford last Saturday, parted ways with Helton.

“Nothing shocks you in this sport anymore,” Whittingham said. “In this day and age, it’s immediate results. Everyone’s impatient. Nothing shocks me.”

Utah wide receiver Britain Covey said he was surprised to hear the news about Helton.

“I didn’t know that could happen this early in the season. I talked to Clay at the Pac-12 media day. He’s a great guy,” Covey said. “I have no idea what impact that would have on the team. If coach Whitt got fired, that would be a big thing so early on. I feel for him. That would be tough.”

Utah visits USC on Oct. 9.