Utah did what it needed to do Saturday in a 31-7 win over Weber State. The 12th-ranked Utes (3-0) were once again shorthanded, but the defense turned in a strong performance and limited Weber State to just 127 total yards.

After the game, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham met with reporters to recap things and look ahead. Here’s everything he said:

Opening statement

“Thought we did a lot of good things today. I wouldn’t call it a dominant performance or our best football, but we did a lot of good things on offense. A lot of production, made a bunch of first downs, and were decent on third downs. Ran the ball okay. What we should’ve done on offense we did.

“Defensively I thought we played exceptionally well — 127 yards is all, that’s got to be one of the lowest totals in recent memory. One touchdown, seven points, so good stuff going on.

“On special teams, we had some issues. Our kickoff cover unit was horrendous. We have to get that addressed. We botched a field goal attempt in the first half. We definitely have some things to work on.

“We’re one-fourth of the way through the season we are sitting ideally as far as we hoped to be, 3-0, obviously. We’ve got conference play from here on out, starting with the Bruins next Saturday, and so we have to get better. We have to get healthy. We’ve got 15 of 16 guys that can help us win that are not available. We have to start getting them back, and we lost some more today. I’ve been coaching 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in that department, but it’s ‘next man up’ mentality. The guys that are getting their opportunities are making the most of them.

“I thought Nate Johnson played well today, his numbers were good. Zero turnovers in the game. Offensive line performed well. Bottom line, we did what we were supposed to do today. Weber State is a good football team, they’re going to win a lot of games this year. They already have a couple victories. They will be a contender in the Big Sky, but we’ve got to worry about ourselves, come in and watch the film, figure out where we can get better because we have to continue to get better to have a chance to get where we want to get.”

On slow starts offensively

“Well we scored a touchdown on the first drive, I think, so not a slow start today. We did hit a lull for a little while. But it’s hard to be in high gear from start to finish. We did have some stretches where we weren’t as productive as we needed to be, but I think we have a chance to be really good. If we get all our guys intact, we have a chance to be really good. Right now, we’re just doing what we can. Like I said, it’s valuable reps for these guys that are getting experience. That’ll pay off down the road. The guys that are getting the chance to play right now wouldn’t have otherwise, so we just see the positive in that.”

On his final talk with Nate Johnson before his first start

“‘Relax, you’ve prepared well.’ He did all the preparation he needed to for the game. During the entire week he practiced well, he watched film. You do that and there’s no reason he shouldn’t play well, and he did. He had a good outing and he’s a confident kid, nothing seemed to bother him. He’s very stable-minded, very even-tempered, and that’s a good thing for a QB.”

On Utah’s pick-six streak

“I can’t tell you what the reason is behind it, it’s one of those records that will probably never be broken.

“First of all, when you go back, I think it’s a five-year timeframe, we have taken the ball away more than anybody in the country, as far as picks and fumble recoveries. When you have a lot of opportunities you’re going to get some touchdowns out of them. That’s probably the biggest reason I could tell you is we’ve got a defense that’s a bunch of ball-hawks and we’re really good at turning the ball over.”

On what he hopes to shape up before conference play

“Getting guys back. Our starting tackles back, Connor O’Toole back. JT Broughton didn’t play today. We’ve got to get all our guys intact. That’s what we’re hoping for this week, is to get a good chunk of those guys that are missing back. That’s the most important thing that could happen to make us better.”

On the players who exited Saturday’s game

“Three I believe it was today. We’ll just see the severity or the extent of the injury more in detail tomorrow and see where we’re at with those guys. I think a couple of them are definitely gonna be out for next week. At least two of the guys.”

On whether he’s hopeful the players waiting to make their debut will be available vs. UCLA

“We hope so, but I’ve been hoping that for several weeks now. It’s not our call. That’s not something that we determine. We just go with the direction of the medical staff and we hope for the best.”