Utah's Kyle Whittingham says Dorian Thompson-Robinson is playing his best football
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham thinks the prep work done to ready for Florida’s Anthony Richardson in the Utes’ season-opener can help as they prepare for UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson. DTR presents some of the same challenges Richardson did, with their ability to move around and extend plays, hurting teams with either their legs or their arm.
Richardson hurt the Utes. And Whittingham remembers it all too well. But the Utah head coach also knows that DTR can do the same, and he just might if Utah can’t find ways to succeed where Washington just failed.
After leading the 5-0 and 18th-ranked Bruins to a Friday night beatdown of Washington, Thompson-Robinson is playing as good of football as anyone in the Pac-12 right now. Whittingham was very complimentary of the fifth-year senior quarterback when he met with reporters on Monday.
“You can see him getting better and better. He’s playing his best football right now, from my vantage point,” said Whittingham. “Chip (Kelly) has done a great job of developing him. Not that he was not good before, but he’s really taken his game to another level.”
Thompson-Robinson currently sits seventh in the country in Total QBR — a holistic measure of QB success that Whittingham in particular likes as a barometer. He leads the Pac-12 in completion percentage (74.3%) and ranks third in yards per pass attempt (8.7).
The Bruins are finding uber-efficient play from the pass game of late. Thompson-Robinson has six total touchdowns for an offense that hasn’t turned the ball over at all in its last nine quarters of play.
More than anything right now, the swag factor seems to be turned up. DTR hurdled a Washington defense, and a shot from the opposite endzone showed him nearly even with the top of the back official’s head. He made two UW defenders slam into each other later in the game, side-stepping converging would-be tacklers at the goal line like a cartoon character evading danger at the last moment.
Thompson-Robinson is dangerous right now.
“Seems to be very poised,” continued Whittingham. “Makes plays, takes care of the ball, and he’s a dual-threat, which is the biggest issue for us — his ability to run as well as throw the football. That’s always a tough calling for your defensive coordinator and a tough situation for your defense when you’ve got a guy that can extend plays like he can.”
Richardson had 106 yards and three rushing scores against Utah when the Florida Gators shocked the Utes in Week 1. He also threw for 168 yards and didn’t turn the ball over.
“That will be good preparation,” said Whittingham. “A lot of the things we learned in that game, hopefully we can apply to this game.”
Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. PT at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.