The University of Utah football program has hired a new offensive coordinator just days after announcing a shakeup to the coaching staff.
Utah named Troy Taylor, 48, as its new offensive playcaller Monday, signaling a new direction for the Utes’ offense headed into the 2017 season.
Taylor was the co-offensive coordinator and primary playcaller at Eastern Washington during the 2016 season. He helped lead the Big Sky power to the second-best offense in FCS football as the Eagles fell in the playoff semifinals.
“I have watched Troy Taylor closely over the years when he was coaching innovative high school offenses in California and was eager to see how that translated to college coaching,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a news release from the school. “He achieved the same results at Eastern Washington ... Troy has trained a prolific number of record-setting quarterbacks in high school, at his academy and now in college.”
Taylor’s hire came three days after the school announced it would not retain co-offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick, and that running backs coach/assistant head coach Dennis Erickson was retiring. Offensive line coach Jim Harding was named as assistant head coach Monday in conjunction with Taylor’s hire.
Under Taylor, Eastern Washington sophomore quarterback Gage Gubrud set an NCAA FCS single-season record by passing for 5,160 yards while throwing 48 touchdown passes.
Taylor’s hire likely signals a departure from a ball-control, run-based style employed for several years at Utah.
“We will have an attacking style of offense that stretches the field and the defense in every way,” Taylor said in the release. “Creating success for the quarterback will be our utmost priority. If your QB plays well, you have a great chance of winning. Therefore, the development of his fundamentals and skill set are vital.
“However, it is just as imperative to have an offensive system that is both dynamic and user friendly. That has been the driving force in my offensive philosophy and I am excited to bring this to the University of Utah.”
The change marks the ninth offensive coordinator arrangement in 10 years for the Utes. Amid questions over Whittingham’s influence over Utah’s offense, given the seeming revolving door of coordinators, the head coach reassured Taylor he would have “full license to run his style,” according to a report from the Salt Lake Tribune.