Utah's Kyle Whittingham is one of the more solid coaches in the game. While his stock has dropped a bit in last two years (after joining the Pac-12), Whittingham has done a tremendous job of building on the foundation left behind by Urban Meyer (See B's full notes on Whittingham here).
From a distance he also seems to be a classy coach who represents his program and school well. His comments heading into this game week were interesting as he seemed to have a very good handle of what has happened with the UCLA program in last two years, giving due credit to Rick Neuheisel was his solid recruiting, while complimenting Mora for getting the most out of the talent he inherited and taking UCLA to another level:
Reporter: Coach, it was just a few years ago that UCLA was pretty much an also-ran and they were kind of going nowhere as a program. Then they hired coach Mora, and he turned things around really quickly. Is this kind of a testament to how the right hire can come in and make a team that hasn't been so good really good in a short amount of time?
KW: I think that's part of it. Coach Mora's a heck of a football coach. He's got a great background, and he's done a lot of good things at a lot of different places, but my no means was the cupboard bare when he got there. Coach Neuheisel had done a great job recruiting there, and they had talented players.
I think it's a combination of a great deal of talent that he inherited but taking that talent and maximizing it. I guess the answer to your question is, "Yes," on one front, but there's more to it than just that.
Whittingham is also feeling pretty confident about his team against UCLA:
Reporter: Coach, you talked about UCLA's national rankings and the fact that it's a nationally televised game. What have you seen from your guys over the last couple of days of practice showing how amped up they are for this scenario?
KW: Their work ethic at practice has been excellent - their focus, their concentration. ... And the week before the best it's been in a long time, and this past week has really been similar to what we had going into the rivalry game as far as the quality of practices.
There's an air of confidence about the team, and we know we've got to get things rolling in the Pac-12, but right now, we feel like we've made big steps as to who we are - our identity, what we're good at, what we're not so good at.
You can read the full transcript of his presser from this week here.