The Utes have given up too many long kickoff returns this season and it’s something he wants to fix.
“It’s a major emphasis,” Whittingham said.
During his weekly news conference Monday morning, the Utah coach joked that he wanted to hold an open tryout for a kicker.
“If you have any eligibility and you can kick, meet me out there at 3 o’clock today,” he said.
Bottom line, Whittingham wants to see his team kick the ball out of the end zone.
“Ideally, we would like to have every kickoff be a touchback and not have to worry about defending a return,” Whittingham said. “Put the ball at the 25 and let’s go. Right now, we’re better off kicking it out of bounds and putting it at the 35 because teams are getting past the 35 with regularity. It’s a definite concern.”
Last Saturday in a 42-32 loss at UCLA, Utah surrendered a 43-yard kickoff return. Jordan Noyes had four kickoffs against the Bruins, with two touchbacks. Jadon Redding had two kickoffs with zero touchbacks.
Against Arizona State, the Sun Devils had a 47-yard kickoff return and a 58-yard kickoff return against the Utes.
Whittingham would just prefer touchbacks to returns.
Utes on the air
No. 7 USC (6-0, 4-0)
at No. 20 Utah (4-2, 2-1)
Saturday, 6 p.m. MDT
Radio: ESPN 700