Utah coach Kyle Whittingham doesn’t expect Dennis Erickson to overhaul Utah’s offense when he arrives in Salt Lake City. Instead, he envisions Erickson and the other coaches building on what the Utes already have in place.
“We aren’t starting over, we don’t want to do that,” Whittingham said Monday as Erickson, the former Arizona State University coach, was named Utah’s co-offensive coordinator. “We weren’t good on offense last year, but we did do some good things and we want to build on that.”
Whittingham said he has followed Erickson’s career from the time he began at Idaho in 1982 and always admired him for his prolific offenses.
“They’re all based out of the spread philosophy and that is what intrigues me the most,” Whittingham said.
The 65-year-old Erickson will share coordinating duties with Brian Johnson, who served as offensive coordinator last year. However, Whittingham said Erickson will have the “last say.”
Whittingham said Johnson wasn’t viewing Erickson’s hiring as a demotion and that the two had “a conversation” to discuss possible hiring scenarios.
“Brian knew all along we wanted someone who was the best fit for our offense and needs,” Whittingham said. “This in no way, shape or form diminishes my opinion of Brian or what I think his coaching future is.”
Whittingham said the coaching duties of the other offensive assistants remain the same, with Jay Hill over running backs, Johnson over the quarterbacks and passing game coordinator Aaron Roderick in charge of the receivers.
The Utes believe Erickson will be a valuable addition to their recruiting efforts as well, particularly for quarterbacks. Whittingham described him as a ‘coast to coast’ recruiter who could go into anyone’s home.
Dennis Erickson head coaching file
1982-85 • Idaho (32-15)
1986 • Wyoming (6-6)
1987-88 • Washington St. (12-10-1)
1989-94 • Miami (63-9)
1995-1998 • Seattle Seahawks (31-33)
1999-2002 • Oregon St. (31-17)
2003-04 • San Francisco 49ers (9-23)
2006 • Idaho (4-8)
2007-11 • ASU (31-31)