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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover the Pac-12 for The Salt Lake Tribune.

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(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dave Christensen, Utah's newest offensive coordinator is introduced during a press conference at the University of Utah football practice facility on Tuesday, Jan. 7. 2014.
Pac-12: Utah's Whittingham still seeking offensive success

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham introduced former Wyoming coach Dave Christensen as his offensive coordinator Tuesday, while making a point not to "bash" the current staff members who formerly held that title.

During the news conference in the Utes' football complex, Whittingham also said, "We've still got to get better. I don't think anybody in this building would disagree with that."

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Christensen's spread offense is "a great fit schematically" with what Utah is already doing, Whittingham said, adding that his motivation was to hire the best person available and give him the proper level of responsibility, regardless of the perception of continual change of coordinators.

Whittingham had a staff opening after special teams/tight ends coach Jay Hill became Weber State's head coach. That vacancy occurred shortly after Christensen was fired at Wyoming after five seasons.

The most recent impression of Christensen's offense came in a 35-7 loss at Utah State. Christensen cited significant injuries to the offensive line by the season's end. "When we were healthy, we were pretty decent," he said, noting how the Cowboys produced 34 points and 602 yards in a season-opening loss at Nebraska.

In 2014, Christensen will become Utah's sixth play-caller since Andy Ludwig's departure after the 2009 Sugar Bowl. The previous list includes Dave Schramm, Aaron Roderick, Norm Chow, Brian Johnson and Dennis Erickson. Of those five, only Chow - who became Hawaii's head coach - was never demoted by Whittingham.

The Utes improved slightly in 2013 under Erickson's direction, but ranked only 10th in the Pac-12 in total offense. That's why Whittingham was willing to make a second demotion in two seasons, after Johnson was the coordinator in 2012. Erickson called the plays this past season, when he and Johnson were labeled co-coordinators.

Their roles now iare coaching the running backs and the quarterbacks, respectively. Whittingham said Erickson told him, "I don't need titles."

Asked about the findings of his self-study of the program after another 5-7 season ended six weeks ago, Whittingham said, "Don't turn the ball over and take it away."

The Utes ranked 11th in the conference with a minus-9 turnover ratio, with 25 turnovers and 16 takeaways - including only three interceptions.

The relationship between Whittingham and Christensen dates to the early 1990s at Idaho State. Utah opens the 2014 season Aug. 28 against Idaho State.

PAC-12 Links
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Colorado (Denver Post)
» Pac-12 media days: Colorado eager to turn things around
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» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott: league "well positioned" for playoffs
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Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Local digest: Atletico Madrid not at full strength against San Jose Earthquakes
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» Pac 12 football: Stanford reacts to being picked second

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» College Football: Position coach Adrian Klemm says UCLA offensive line a work in progress
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Improving UCLA has questions to answer during preseason football camp
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USC (Los Angeles Daily News)
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Washington (Seattle Times)
» Morning links: Chris Petersen 'nailed it' in move to Washington
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Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
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