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Mike Sorensen: Will Utes follow BYU's lead and make a change at offensive coordinator?

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  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2013 5:55 p.m.

    No. Brian will learn. He's still young enough in the coaching profession to have potential in the position. Doman had been QB coach long enough and worked with the offense long enough that if he was any good he would have been able to make BYU at least an average offensive team.

    BYU and Utah's offenses may have more or less comparable numbers, but at one point in the season I remember Utah had the 2nd hardest schedule in the nation. I'm not sure how the last couple games changed that. That said - Brian's ability to have an average football offense against a significantly more challenging schedule tells me he has potential.

    Whittingham is one of the best in the nation at putting people in the positions that will make them AND the team successful.

    I still see Roses within 3 more years!

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 6, 2013 5:59 p.m.

    Rumors suggest that Whittingham has been entertaining the idea of a new offensive coordinator and has perhaps even interviewed a few people INCLUDING Anae before he took the BYU offer. Whether true or not, I for one would've liked Anae to Utah. I'd be happy at his return to the Y if I was a cougar fan.
    Bottom line, it won't surprise me in the least if a new OC at Utah ends up happening.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Jan. 6, 2013 6:12 p.m.

    Brian Johnson inherited an injury prone quarterback and did a great job under the circumstances. Meanwhile Brandon Doman inherited the top Quarterback recruit in the nation and squandered the opportunity. As far as Gary Crowton is concerned, I think he's shown he's simply not the guy to develop young talent. Brian is. I don't think he's going to get fired anytime soon.

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2013 6:17 p.m.

    Utah won't make a change at OC for at least another year or two if things don't improve. Firing a coach on a knee jerk reaction after a rough year is usually not a good choice. See: BYU and Robert Anae.

  • indycrimson Franklin, IN
    Jan. 6, 2013 6:46 p.m.

    Utah needs an OC and we don't need to look in state! Or recycle! Or promote a quarterback! Go find a great OC at a JC or D2...

    Chip Kelly was at New Hampshire when OR found him...

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Jan. 6, 2013 7:52 p.m.

    I think Doman and Johnson are good coaches and great minds but were both over their heads at this junction in their coaching arch. I hope that Whittingham realizes this with Johnson not only for the betterment of his program but for Johnson's sake as well.

  • AltaHawkFan Sandy, UT
    Jan. 6, 2013 8:20 p.m.

    re: chrissy b

    Yes, BJ will learn but if kyle keeps him at OC, he'll get kyle fired before he becomes proficient. Your utes did not even have an average offense. Your offense was in the bottom 20 in the nation last year.

    The only roses you'll see the next 3 yrs are through your rose colored glasses.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Jan. 6, 2013 8:51 p.m.

    Utah is in the PAC . Political correctness will rule. Utah can't make a change now. They are stuck for two more years.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2013 9:43 p.m.

    Wow, so few Ute fans actually care anymore!

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 6, 2013 9:47 p.m.

    I certainly hope utah keep johnson as their offensive coordinator as he obviously is not ready for the position and I owuld expect more of what we saw this year from him for the forseeable future.

    That said whittingham's record with OC's is not particularly good so if he does hire a new one it probably won't make a whole lot of difference.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Jan. 6, 2013 9:46 p.m.

    Follow Chris B's prediction. He is never wrong. (Sarcasm; insert laughter here.)

    It will take Utah 3 seasons, maybe 4, to amass 10 conference victories. Why would they suddenly be in line for the Rose Bowl?

    Hope springs eternal on the hill, I suppose. Just ask Arizona how that has been working for them in regards to getting to the Rose Bowl.

    Keep Brian for sure.

  • Balan South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 6, 2013 10:08 p.m.

    Nope. No one at the U can admit when they make a bad decision.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 6, 2013 10:48 p.m.

    Kyle's choice of QBs and OCs has been his biggest flaw as head coach.

  • Qwest Perfected Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2013 11:26 p.m.

    To be fair, I think any OC would have struggled with developing game plans for 3 different QB's all with very different skill sets. Of course Johnson could have done better, but his play calling wasn't the only problem. It took a while for the O-line to develop and by the time they finally started to play better the Utes made the move to Wilson.

    It would have been so huge for this team to make a bowl game this year if for nothing else than the additional practices that the NCAA allows for it. The Utes ended up wasting a lot of time in the preseason the last two years with a QB that wasn't 100% healthy. As the Utes head into next year with no real QB controversy's, I hope the offense can make some significant improvement.

    I don't think Johnson necessarily did anything that would cause him to lose his job but I wouldn't be shocked if Kyle promoted Roderick to CO-OC or something like that.

    I hope they can figure it out soon and lock down some good recruits, that will help more than anything else.

    Go Utes!

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Jan. 6, 2013 11:34 p.m.

    @Chris B... Your comment (like most of what I read from you) always puts a smile on my face...
    Utah is worse than BYU in Offensive stats, and BYU has really been off the last couple of years.

    To be a solid OC at the Division I level you need to have had some experience at the HS, Div II or III level, or as an understudy at a good program at the Division I level for 3 or 4 years...The key is building a scheme that compliments your talent and then try to recruit the skills that fit the scheme... Both Johnson and Doman are solid Football guys and will be good someday, but both need OC exposure in an environment where they can learn and experiment before taking the job at a BYU or a Utah... I love the Cougars and I do believe that Doman could be successful if he takes time, swallows his pride and learns from an experienced guy... He had a tendency to want to run what was successful for BYU back when he was the QB... The trouble is, he didn't have the line he had, or Luke Staley, etc.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    Jan. 7, 2013 5:44 a.m.

    Whittingham is a great coach. He has had so many opportunities to move on to really big time programs and has elected to stay. BUT some of his decisions on personnel could really cost him. He rolled the dice when he appointed such a young and completely inexperienced man as OC. Going up against all those world class defensive coordinators in the PAC 12? He didn't have a chance. Utah needs top of the line coaches to be competitive. Waiting for Johnson to develop could be rough on Whittingham's career.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 7, 2013 6:52 a.m.

    Utah should follow BYU's lead in everything. Some universities are destined to lead, other to follow. Just kidding Utes!

  • Sounds right.. Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    @ CHris B. According to Sargarin Utah Sched Strength was 37th in the country. BYU was 56. Now that Utah has Stanford and oregon on the Sched there is 2 more losses. Good luck utes.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Jan. 7, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    I wasn't a big fan of promoting a 25-yr old QB coach to O.C. after only 2-yrs coaching, but I don't see Utah making any changes at the O.C. spot this offseason.

    Johnson really only had 1-yr to learn from Chow before assuming his role, but at least now, he has some experience to reflect back on. And ESPECIALLY following a 5-7 season. Utah needs improvement on the OL first and foremost, and we need more consistent play at the QB position. As for the QB spot, I really like Wilson. He finished 2012 with a 122.2 QB rating as an 18-yr old TRUE Freshman. By way of comparison, cougar-hero Taysom Hill finished with a 122.4 QB rating as a 21-yr old R/S Freshman. At 6-6, 230-lbs, if Wilson can add another 10-15 lbs to his frame, I could see Utah completing our 1st season with the same QB under Center since BJ finishing out the Sugar Bowl. THEN, if Utah sputters, THEN might it be time to bring in a new, more experienced O.C.

    Let's see what BJ can do in '13.

  • reasonableUTE Provo, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    Kyle is not a knee jerk reaction type of guy... If he was he would have left Utah for BYU after his father got fired. He would have taken the Tennessee job, he would have benched Wynn a LONG time ago. He will be patient with Brian, as should we. This article was ridiculous and completely unfounded in reality.

  • LonestarRunner Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 9:02 a.m.

    Does Utedom honestly believe that BJ is capable of being an effective OC coaching against the likes of Kelly, Kiffin, Leach, Sarkisian, Rodriguez, Riley, Shaw and Mora?

    Utah fans are only fooling themselves if they think a 25-yo with hardly any coaching experience is capable of competing head-to-head against much better coaches with much more experience, and, in most cases, much better talent.

    How many more losing, bowl-less seasons will Kyle and Utah fans be willing to accept while BJ is learning? One more? Two more? Three more?

  • Wookie Omaha, NE
    Jan. 7, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    Hey Coach Whit, good luck this year.

    If you do not bring in a new OC, then please please give Brian some support and training/education from someone who is more seasoned than Brian. I think Brian has great potential but he just doesn't have the experience needed. Also, Sitake needs to become more cleaver with his schemes, this isn't the MWC where you had the luxery of speed and size, the PAC has speed and size too. Hire me as a consultant :) I would increase the speed like Oregon on Offense and ratchet down the D like Alabama/Notre Dame/Stanford...

    GO Utes!!

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Jan. 7, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    Johnson will get at least one more year, maybe two. If the offense doesn't improve next year, I expect he'll feel the heat.

    It's always a gamble with a new OC. Oregon gambled with Kelly and won. Bronco gambled with Doman and lost. The odds are against Johnson being successful, espcially with so little experience. But it's hard to judge him based on this year with the QB situation.

    A great player does not always translate into a great coach. So many at BYU wanted Detmer as OC, but he is just as big of a risk as Doman. Anae is not a home run (forgive the baseball analogy), but he is a solid double which is better than we've been getting.

  • AltaHawkFan Sandy, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    re: reasonableute

    If kyle is not a 'knee jerk type of guy' then why have the utes had 5 different OC's the past 5 yrs ?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    The problem wasn't play calling, the problem was lack of talent on the O-line and QB. The offense would have shined if those two positions had better talent.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Jan. 7, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    CougFaninTX:

    "So many at BYU wanted Detmer as OC, but he is just as big of a risk as Doman."

    I disagree. Detmer has a lot more experience in the Xs and Os than Doman. Detmer had more playing time while at the Y, and lasted longer in the NFL -- where he spent a lot of time tutoring more talented QBs. Honestly, I don't know why Ty would prefer to coach a high school team than his alma mater, but I believe Detmer would have made a far better O.C. than Doman. I think Anae would be better than Doman too.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Jan. 7, 2013 11:48 a.m.

    AltaHawkFan:

    The reason why the Utes have had 5 OCs over the past 5-yrs is because...

    (1) One left to become a Head Coach (Hawai'i). A Head Coaching position is considered a step up from a Coordinator's position. Chow was not asked to leave the program.

    (2) Two were demoted to previous position coaching positions in order to make room for Norm Chow (see above).

    (3) One left to take lateral position in a BCS league. Back in 2008, Utah was a mid-major, so from a professional coaching standpoint, it was still a step up.

    (4) One is still the O.C. at Utah.

    None of those coaches were forced out of Utah, and replacing Roderick/Schramm for Chow is a move any Head Coach would have done given the opportunity to do so.

    Did you REALLY not know the answer to that question?

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    @naval lint

    Excuses are like.....well let's just say everyone has one. roderick and schramm, who were in a weird "co" coordinator situation to begin with, got demoted because they weren't good enough. The fact whittingham went looking for someone to replace them is proof enough. If they had actually been any good he wouldn't have felt the need to pursue chow.

    chow was only not forced out because he actually got a job offer, if not he was gone anyway. There were plenty of accounts that whittingham had buyers remorse with that guy, you trying to pretend it was all about a promotion is funny though.

    Ditto for the attempt to make it appear as if ludwig left for a better postion, of course it was a better position but that isn't why he left. He was run out of town by whittingham amid massive criticism from utah "fans" and mediocre results.

    The fact is that whittingham does not like anything more than yes men on his staff.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Jan. 7, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    Duckhunter:

    "There were plenty of accounts that whittingham had buyers remorse with that [Chow]..."

    Did you frantically and emotionally make that up? Please provide the Google search engine keywords to verify Whittingham's desire to dump Chow.

    Roderick and Schramm weren't very good OCs. Replacing them with Chow wasn't a "knee-jerk" reaction. It was a "no-brainer". Can you think of a single head coach in the FBS ranks that would pass on Chow as their OC in favor of either of those two? I can't. Chow became available, and Whittingham was in the right place at the right time. If Whit had been actively recruiting other OCs at the time he snagged Norm, who were they? If he wasn't, then you can't conclude Whittingham seeking out other OC candidates was "proof" of anything.

    My post never said Roderick/Schramm were great OCs. I only said they were demoted to make room for Chow. And my point to AltaHawkFan was that Whittingham was NOT a "knee jerk type of guy". If you want to argue my points, try picking one. You're a true disciple of strawman argumentation.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    @ Duckhunter

    I can look the other way on a few of your GUESSES as to what happened with Utah O Coordinators, but this comment pretty much stole any credibility you might have had:

    "Chow was only not forced out because he actually got a job offer, if not he was gone anyway. There were plenty of accounts that whittingham had buyers remorse with that guy, you trying to pretend it was all about a promotion is funny though."

    This is quite simply the furthest thing from the truth and literally made me laugh out loud ... not just your typical lol ... as you're so fond of ... I mean I really laughed out loud. Come on man, you're better than that.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Jan. 7, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    Duckhunter:

    "Ditto for the attempt to make it appear as if ludwig left for a better postion,...but that isn't why he left. He was run out of town by whittingham..."

    Here is Ludwig's coaching career as an Offensive Coordinator:

    1998-2001: (4-yrs): Fresno State
    2002-2004: (3-yrs): Oregon
    2005-2008: (4-yrs): Utah
    2009-2010: (2-yrs): California
    2011-2012: (2-yrs): San Diego St.
    2013-____: (0-yrs): Wisconsin

    Seems to me Ludwig's 4-yrs at Fresno St. and Utah demonstrated is longest coaching tenure. "Knee jerk"???

    Doesn't look that way...

  • MUSSing with U Baltimore, MD
    Jan. 7, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    Henry Drummond

    "Brian Johnson inherited an injury prone quarterback and did a great job under the circumstances."

    Great job? How so? Utah had one of the worst offenses in the NCAA last year.

    "Meanwhile Brandon Doman inherited the top Quarterback recruit in the nation and squandered the opportunity."

    Correction, Brandon didn't inherit Heaps, he recruited him; just like he recrruited Taysom Hill and Tanner Mangum. Brandon just managed Heaps poorly and was in over his head as an OC.

    On the other hand, the reason BJ inherited an injury-prone QB, was because Whitless converted all of his QB prospects to defense and left his QB cupboard bare.

  • 54-10 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    ...and yet Johnson still had enough offense to beat the mighty Cougs.

  • Wookie Omaha, NE
    Jan. 7, 2013 3:05 p.m.

    @ Duckhunter...

    That thing you speak of that everyone has, quit acting like one. Your presence to just create contention has yet again gotten the better of you. Making up statements to create an argument, why? Both teams need OC or their OCs (prior to Doman's change) need more mentoring to become better at their respective roles.

    Go UTES!

  • uteBusters Park City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    54-IQ

    "...and yet Johnson still had enough offense to beat the mighty Cougs"

    As usual, our little friends on the hill are so totally obsessed with BYU, that nothing else matters:

    - losing season - who cares, we beat BYU
    - unranked - we're hardly ever ranked anyway, but we beat BYU
    - no bowl - BYU is once again our bowl
    - no conference championships - we've only won 6 in the last 60 years, it's not something we do
    - recruiting - it doesn't matter if most of the PAC outrecruits us, we think we did better than BYU
    - 100th ranked passing offense - we beat BYU
    - 93rd ranked rushing offense - we beat BYU
    - 76th ranked scoring offense - we beat BYU
    - 105th ranked total offense - we beat BYU

    2011 BYU(10-3) ranked > Utah(8-5) unranked
    2012 BYU(8-5) bowl winner > Utah(5-7) no bowl

    Why do the Utes even bother playing a 12-game schedule, when it's obvious that the only game that matters to them is the BYU game?

  • ATiredDude Sandy, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 3:42 p.m.

    @Sounds right..

    No, it's not two more losses. Remedial math. We trade a 1-1 record (Wash/Cal) for Oregon & Stanford. That's not two more losses any way you slice it.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 4:24 p.m.

    @atireddude

    Actually you trade a 1-3 record (wash/cal the last 2 seasons)for oregon and stanford, an almost guaranteed 0-4 over the next 2 years. So you're correct, only 1 more total loss.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    @motorbike

    I know some people, I doubt you know anyone. whittingham wanted chow out of there and had absolutely no regrets when he left. chow is not an easy man to get along with and whittingham does not like assistants with minds and wills of their own. Believe what you want, I know differently.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 7:10 p.m.

    I'm in Colorado all this month and I'll have some direct quotes about how these Buff fans feel about beating Utah last year. This will be so fun to share with all my "friends".

    After that fiasco Whit had to be furious with Chow and that position in Hawaii was heaven sent and Fedex'd to both Whit and Chow. Getting rid of Brian won't be nearly as difficult nor will it require 'divine' intervention. Simply give him a lesser position and he'll be happy to stay.

    So I think it's hilarious that the question that Brian is on the chopping block now and Utes could be going through coaching changes almost as often as their basketball program.

    The kids on 'the hill' are in full panic and spin mode. So funny.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 8:31 p.m.

    Duckhunter

    "@motorbike - I know some people, I doubt you know anyone. whittingham wanted chow out of there and had absolutely no regrets when he left."
    __________

    Your bluff has been called! Not only do I know people but those people are family employed by the U and VERY involved with the football program. So you either need to quit lying or find new "people" to trust.
    You're right about one thing, Chow is not an easy man to work with. But Whittingham absolutely wished Chow would have stayed and mentored other coaches for at least another year if not 3 or 4.
    Get new sources my friend.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 8:40 p.m.

    @ sammyg

    We can't wait to hear your stories from Colorado, please don't keep us waiting too long ok?

    By the way, did they happen to mention anything about the game played this past season? Or did they only want to talk about the previous game?

    Seriously, your comment read like that of a 14 year old school girl.

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 1:46 a.m.

    @gdog3
    "Kyle's choice of QBs and OCs has been his biggest flaw as head coach"

    Throw in the mistake of promoting Sitake to DC and Kyle has blown his 3 biggest decisions. He was lucky to find Norm Chow available last year and having him as the OC saved his bacon when Wynn went down for the season. If Chow hadn't been able to rescue the offense and cobble together a scheme to hide Jon Hays deficiencies and allow the defense to win them games utah would've had a losing season their first 2 yrs in the Pac 12.

    Kyle owes Chow a big fat thank you for extending his career at utah. Whitt's next stop likely will be Weber St after another bad season.

  • reasonableUTE Provo, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:24 a.m.

    this article is just plain ridiculous. Whitt is not a knee jerk reaction type of guy. If he was, he would have gone to BYU after his father got fired, he would have taken the BYU head coaching job instead of the Utah one, he would have yanked Wynn long ago, he would have taken the Tennessee coaching job... The list goes on and on. The man has integrity, he will not can Johnson for at least 2 more seasons (unless this next one is a complete and total disaster). Johnson will get better this year, he improved greatly this last year, and he will continue to do so. Have patience people!

  • Downtownchrisbrown ,
    Jan. 8, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    Naval Vet - Taysom Hill is a TRUE freshman too

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Jan. 8, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    Downtownchrisbrown:

    Taysom Hill signed with Stanford back in 2009 and redshirted. In 2010 and 2011, he was on his mission. In 2012, he was a 21-yr old REDSHIRT Freshman. Not a TRUE Freshman.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 2:34 p.m.

    Interesting that anyone that has a different opinion than Naval Vet gets labelled by him as being "frantic and emotional." Since he uses those terms so often one is left to postulate if he really knows what they mean. I guess the favorite term of "irrelevant" got to be too old, particularly since it wasn't true anyway.

    He and Chris B. could start a business together about how everything in the universe is "Utah" and "nothing else matters."

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 7:43 p.m.

    Naval Vet

    I've noticed that you have yet to explain your absence last fall when the Utes needed you the most. When Brian needed you, you were gone for those several weeks of miserable PAC10.2 losses.

    And now you're here defending Brian when you abandoned him. Confusing signals from an avid Ute "fan".

    Please explain.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Jan. 9, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    sammyg and toosmartforU:

    If you want an explanation, you'll have to ask me from a different forum. The DNews won't permit me to do so here.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 4:02 p.m.

    In otherwords naval vet was either banned or suspended for awhile. No surprise.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    Jan. 9, 2013 11:22 p.m.

    Does anyone understand that BYU's head coach also needs to go. The decision process in a number of games cost them this year and that responsibility falls on the HC. This team needs a fresh start with a fresh set of eyes. Why will the AD not make the real changes that are needed?