Kenny Dillingham calls Utah the 'gold standard' of the Pac-12
Kenny Dillingham on Monday was highly complimentary of Utah and the program Kyle Whittingham has built.
“This is the culture that I envision here,” Dillingham said of Utah. “They’re the program that I envision hopefully having here. A coach who has been there for 19 years, who’s built it up, who’s established physicality in the program, toughness. That’s what we’re trying to build here.
“This is the gold standard in the league, in my opinion for what a program should look like, should feel like.”
Dillingham said Utah’s foundational success begins with physicality. The program is coming off back-to-back Pac-12 championship seasons, and it has only endured two losing seasons since Urban Meyer was the head coach.
But the Utes are coming off their worst loss of the season, a 35-6 defeat at the hands of Oregon in Week 9. Oregon jumped all over the Utes and handed them their worst home loss since 2014.
Whittingham said after the game the Utes were overmatched physically, and that’s not something that normally happens.
Arizona State should expect an angry Utah team in Week 10.
“Utah is one of the most aggressive and violent teams defending perimeter runs in the country because of what they do defensively,” Dillingham said. “They are violent. You get into a stagger bunch and somebody presses you, you better set your jaw because that dude’s going to try to put your butt in the ground.
“It’s a great challenge for us to see where our physicality stands because this is the football’s identity, physicality, and they’ve had 19 years to establish it.”
The Sun Devils face Utah on Saturday, with kickoff from Rice-Eccles Stadium set for 11 a.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network.