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Utes' move reflects coordinator's power

Published January 15, 2014 6:30 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As closely as I follow the football coaching profession, particularly the comings and goings of assistants who have worked at Utah schools, I was stumped recently in recalling Utah's offensive line coach, in between Charlie Dickey (2005-08) and Tim Davis (2011). Answer: Blake Miller, who left for a similar job at Memphis. Bigger point: Position coaches are pretty much interchangeable, and these guys understand that. So while there's some news value in Utah's transition from Dan Finn to Jim Harding as line coach, the move reflects the reality of the profession, more than anything. Finn is the first assistant who actually was fired in coach Kyle Whittingham's nine years, as far as I can determine, but that's not a commentary on Finn's work as much as a commitment to Dave Christensen, the Utes' latest offensive coordinator.Whittingham needs Christensen to succeed, and Christensen believes he needs one of his former Wyoming assistants to help him do so. Finn just happened to occupy Harding's potential office. Sure, if Utah's offensive line had performed better in 2013, the outcome may have been different. But I'm convinced the move had everything to do with Christensen's just wanting his own guy in that position, and Whittingham authorizing him to make the hire. That's how this business works.