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Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham’s latest search for an offensive coordinator already has lasted longer than the process that landed Troy Taylor two years ago.
Whittingham named Taylor soon after firing Aaron Roderick, following the Utes' win over Indiana in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl. Taylor will complete his Utah stay in the Dec. 31 Holiday Bowl vs. Northwestern, having received a seven-year, guaranteed contract to become Sacramento State’s head coach. The deal is “unusual at any level of football,” Taylor told ESPN 700, citing the school’s “major commitment to me.”
Before studying Whittingham's hiring pattern, I'll define the terms: “Play-caller” is the best job title, because he often has used co-coordinators.
Of the eight play-callers since Andy Ludwig’s four-year tenure ended in the 2009 Sugar Bowl, four have been in-house promotions: Dave Schramm, Roderick, Brian Johnson and Roderick again. Two were veteran coaches: Norm Chow and Dennis Erickson. Dave Christensen is in his own category, as an old friend And then there’s Taylor, who had ties to Ute assistant coach Freddie Whittingham during his time at Folsom High School near Sacramento, and improved his credentials in one year at Eastern Washington.
So history shows there’s a 50-50 chance of Kyle Whittingham’s promoting offensive line coach Jim Harding. If that happened, Utah would add a quarterbacks coach.
On to our stories of the past week:
Justin Ena became the second Ute assistant coach to depart this month, and Britain Covey’s brother said the receiver played the second half of the season with a broken wrist. (TRIB)
The Ute women’s basketball team improved to 9-0 with a win over Weber State. (TRIB)
Utah receiver Siaosi Mariner had some heartfelt thoughts about responding to the disappointment of the Pac-12 championship game. (TRIB)
Here’s the initial story of Taylor’s being named at Sacramento State. (TRIB)
And here’s columnist Gordon Monson’s perspective on that development. (TRIB)
Ute men’s basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak had harsh words at halftime, and his team responded against Florida A&M. (TRIB)
Monson examined former Ute coach Jim Boylen’s controversial approach to coaching the Chicago Bulls. (TRIB)
The Ute gymnastics season is approaching, and defending champion UCLA is the Pac-12′s preseason pick. (TRIB)
Whittingham likes the developing quality of a 2019 recruiting class that lacks quantity, due to Utah’s low volume of seniors. (TRIB)
Pac-12 expert Jon Wilner knows who’s to blame for the conference’s men’s basketball performance. (MERC)
Brad Rock took his own look at Utah’s trend of losing offensive coordinators. (DNEWS)
• The Ute women’s basketball team will conclude its nonconference schedule this week. Utah is playing in a tournament at UNLV, meeting Florida on Thursday (1 p.m. MST) and either UNLV or Hawaii on Friday.
The Utes have won every game by at least 10 points, yet rarely have dominated an opponent from start to finish. They have been outstanding in third quarters, but coach Lynne Roberts wants better starts and more consistency from her team. In the Pac-12, Utah will face much tougher defenses and will need better execution in half-court sets, and senior forward Megan Huff will encounter more resistance inside.
The Pac-12 features five teams in the AP Top 25: No. 7 Oregon, No. 8 Stanford, No. 11 Oregon State, No. 14 California and No. 17 Arizona State. Utah and USC received votes this week. The Utes will open conference play Dec. 30 at Colorado.
• In fan voting, Athlon Sports declared the Utah football social media team the winner of the accounts with the “most personality.” The Ute staff edged Central Florida, 51 percent to 49 percent.