The college football coaching landscape is always shifting. Just when fans think their favorite guys are settled, a tremor occurs and all of a sudden, a coach gets fired or an assistant leaves for a higher-profile and higher-paying job.
And teams in Utah have been no stranger to any of it. Utah State, for instance, is on its third head coach in the last four seasons.
So as college football season is about to start all over the country, Pete Thamel of ESPN looked at the coaching landscape and came up with some names to watch as the next round of head coaching openings take shape in the future. Fans of Utah teams will want to pay attention.
Aaron Roderick, offensive coordinator at BYU
Roderick made Thamel’s list because the ESPN writer pegs him as a top assistant. He’s been with the Cougars since 2018, when he started as the quarterbacks coach under former offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes.
Roderick took over as OC last year when Grimes left to run the offense at Baylor. In 2021, quarterback Jaren Hall had a breakout year and the Cougars were the 17th overall total offense in the country. Roderick also coached Zach Wilson, who now is the starting quarterback of the New York Jets.
Roderick said recently that as of Day 4 of fall camp, the team has installed about 90% of the offense, which is faster than normal due to the amount of veteran players on the roster. And while his offense no longer has a the catch nickname it once did under Grimes — it was called the Reliable Violent Offense, or RVO — he’s not too worried about it.
“I’d love a nice nickname,” Roderick said. “But no, we’re just trying to score as many points as we can and take care of the football.”
Blake Anderson, head coach at USU
Thamel listed Anderson third among 10 current head coaches who will get a look from Power 5 teams.
Anderson is in his second season with the Aggies after leaving Arkansas State. He took a Utah State team that won just one of six games in 2020 and turned it into an 11-win team and a Mountain Conference Champion in 2021. It was one of the fastest turnarounds for the Aggies in the last several years.
Anderson’s team lost a lot of production over the offseason, leaving several questions to be answered as the season approaches.
“Everything gets tougher in a conference that’s going to see you coming,” Anderson said before fall camp started. “There’s going to be much higher expectations, sense of awareness of what we bring to the table and how competitive we can be. It’s a huge challenge.”