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Utah football: Christensen brings ‘up front’ approach to offense
Utes football » New offensive coordinator Christensen, a longtime friend of coach Whittingham, calls them like he sees ’em.


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Back in the bigs » Casual college football fans may know Christensen for his behavior on an October night in 2012, when his intensity got the best of him.

At a glance

Dave Christensen file

Age » 53. Hometown » Everett, Wash.

Most recent jobs » Head coach, Wyoming (27-35); offensive coordinator, OL coach, Missouri; offensive coordinator, OL coach, Toledo; OL/running backs coach, Idaho State

Family » Wife, Susie; kids, Katie, D.J. and Emily

Salary » $500,000

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Feeling that the Air Force QB had faked an injury, Christensen called Fighting Falcons coach Troy Calhoun "Mr. [expletive] Howdy Doody" and a "fly boy" while walking off the field. He apologized and was suspended for a game, and it remains a blight on his resume.

"All around, [he’s] a very good person," Harding says. "I think at times that gets lost because of how he is at practice and how passionate he is about the game."

Make no mistake, Whittingham is counting on Christensen’s fire to rekindle an offense that finished 76th overall last season and an abysmal 103rd on third down.

He was hired because he’s "very straightforward, very honest, demanding," Whittingham says. "There’s just an air of leadership about him."

Though he was ultimately fired, Wyoming finished 22nd last year in total offense and quarterback Brett Smith may be drafted come May. In his five seasons at the helm, Christensen led the Cowboys to two bowl games and beat Colorado State for the Bronze Boot in four of five tries.

He takes over a Utah offense that is more talented than that which he and Pinkel inherited at Missouri, he says, though less so than the Tigers he left for Laramie.

"It’s drastically different coaching at the BCS level," he says. "We have a budget here. We can do the things that we need to do to compete."

To be up front, in the spirit of Christensen: He has to.


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mpiper@sltrib.com



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