Ah, another football season has come and gone which means it is time for another Offensive Coordinator change at the University of Utah. There was a lot of shock and response from the hiring of Dave Christensen by Kyle Whittingham. Check out some of the responses I found. After that I will break down what my initial thoughts of this hire are.
I thought Erikson was finally the savior of the Ute offense? I can tell you why the Utes have struggled. 7 OC's in 7 yrs. Whitt is grasping— Matt (@AdiosBullwinkle) December 20, 2013
Utah now has 4 people on its offensive staff that were at one point the teams OC over the past 5 years. SMH. #utes— J.D. Jorgensen (@jorgensenjd) December 20, 2013
Dave Christensen is a good hire at OC for Utah. His offenses at Missouri under Gary Pinkel were quite explosive. #Utes— John Coon (@johncoonsports) December 20, 2013
Those three tweets sum up the reaction I have seen from fans, bloggers, and analyst. The way I see it, there is some good and bad to this move, most of it is good. (This may be just because I am an optimist. Just ask @mrsjbagby on twitter)
- The Utes have had 7 new coordinators in 7 years. The constant changing offense doesn’t help anyone on the team. This team has gone from a spread offense, to a pro style offense, and back to a spread adaptation. People often look to how many returning players a team has to predict the success to expect in the next season. This is because as players stay in a system long enough, the execution of plays and strategy become second nature. Instead of sticking with something, Whittingham has continually opted to make changes in the offseason. The constant change in offense will hurt your recruiting. If I were a top offensive recruit, there is no way I commit to Utah. There is a constant influx in the coaching staff. Look at the quarterback position right now. The Utes have a pro style QB in Connor Manning and an incoming spread QB in Donovan Isom. One of those two will transfer.
- Who hasn’t heard the phrase of too many cooks in the kitchen? That is exactly what can happen in this situation. There are going to be four coaches on the Utes’ staff who have their own ideas of what’s the best way to run an offense. Christensen is in for a tough task of keeping every one on the same page. I have been calling for a sole offensive coordinator. No more co-OC jobs, or the ridiculous pass and run OCs. However, give the sole Offensive Coordinator the responsibility of hiring his own staff. Instead, Christensen has to deal with the continual build up of Whittingham’s mistaken hires and demotions.
- Amen to having one offensive coordinator and one single identity to this offense. Christensen is a spread offense guy and will implement his offense and can recruit his players. The other reason I like this hire is because Christensen is a proven coordinator who will not be leaving anytime soon unless he reestablishes himself as a amazing OC. This gives the opportunity for some continuity in the offensive strategy and playbook for the Utes. This brings the questions of whether he will have the time to establish himself.
- With Christensen’s spread offense coming in, transitioning to his offense should not prove to be a major issue. He will be able to just phase out anything he can’t stand, keep portions of the spread plays that Erickson has put in, and move forward. He is coming into a group of talented offensive players that have shown that they can put up good numbers and score, but turnovers doomed this offense in almost every loss suffered by the Utes.
There is my two cents on this hire. What do you think?