Utah Utes football: Norm Chow focusing on his players, not himself

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 16 2011 8:06 p.m. MST

Norm Chow has the Utah offense moving in the right direction despite key injuries.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow has made it through the three-game gauntlet of ties to his past. No more questions about facing past employers BYU, USC and UCLA this season.

Throughout it all, however, Chow managed to maintain a relatively low profile. He sincerely believes that college football should be about the players and not the coaches — regardless of circumstances, regardless of past affiliations.

"They'll never hear me mention anything about it because it's not about me," Chow said. "It's about these young guys."

As such, Chow never made a big deal about Utah's games against the Cougars, Trojans and Bruins.

"I don't know how much it affected it one way or the other, but Norm is unflappable. He's the consummate professional. He knows how to handle himself," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "He's been in virtually every situation. There's nothing you can throw at Norm that he hasn't been there, done that. So he handles himself very well."

And Chow, he added, has a consistent approach.

"He's a competitive guy. Every game is important to him," Whittingham said. "But, no, he was not markedly different during those weeks as opposed to any other week."

Whittingham noted that Chow maintains an even-keel without major peaks and valleys. He's a steady performer and the same guy every day.

Even so, Chow acknowledged "it obviously means something" to have success against his past employers.

"How can it not? C'mon," he said. "But you try to be as professional as you can and just roll along with it."

Chow takes pride in being complimented about his professionalism.

"I appreciate that. Because in this profession a lot of stuff like that happens," he said of facing teams he used to work for. "In the NFL, it happens all the time. But you just want to make sure the players understand that it is about them."

Speaking of players, Chow has enjoyed his first season back at his alma mater — even though he's had to restructure Utah's scheme in the wake of Jordan Wynn's season-ending injury on Oct. 1.

"That's part of the job, right? These kids have worked so hard. They're fun to be around. They're a joy to be around," Chow said. "That's our job. We just try to make stuff happen with the guys that we have. That's all you do. Every year is challenging. I don't care what happens."

The Utes enter Saturday's game at Washington State on a roll. They've won three straight games and the offense has just one turnover in that time. Chow calls it "pretty darn good." Whittingham, though, had even more to say about it.

"Norm and the entire offensive staff have done a great job of keeping things together and moving in the right direction," Whittingham said. "We're not putting up prolific numbers by any stretch right now, but I think we're making the most of our personnel and getting people in the right spots — putting the ball in the hands of the people that we need to put it into and we're taking care of the football."

Utes on the air

Utah (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12) at Washington State (4-6, 2-5)

Saturday, 3 p.m.

TV: KJZZ

Radio: 700 AM

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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