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Monson: Kyle Whittingham’s image is carved alongside LaVell Edwards’ on the state’s Mount Rushmore of college football coaches

When he recently was asked what made him feel positive about the 2018 season, his 14th in the left seat of the cockpit at Utah, he rattled off a list of explanations, all of them having to do with individual and collective strengths of his players. They are talented, they are conscientious, they are diligent, they are leaders, they are two or three deep at most positions.

“I can’t wait to watch them play,” he said. “We have a chance to be a pretty good football team. There are a lot of reasons for optimism here.”

As he praised others, as he deprecated himself with a smirk, as he spoke those words — We have a chance to be a pretty good football team?