Utah Utes football: Chow rumors swirl, nothing confirmed yet

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 13 2015 6:07 p.m. MDT

UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow, shown here with the Tennessee Titans, may be on his way to Utah.  (Mark Humphrey, Associated Press) UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow, shown here with the Tennessee Titans, may be on his way to Utah. (Mark Humphrey, Associated Press)

Rumors continue to swirl about the fate of former BYU and current UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow, but nothing has been confirmed as of Thursday afternoon.

The original rumor was sparked by a tweet from Yahoo! college football reporter Tom Dienhart. "I have learned Utah is expected to hire Norm Chow as OC and Tim Davis as offensive line coach. Hires could happen soon," the tweet said. Dienhart did not include any sources and has not yet published a story on Yahoo! confirming the report.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times reporter Chris Foster reported Wednesday that UCLA was in talks with former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson. According to Foster, "UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said Wednesday that Johnson had not been hired. But a person in the program with knowledge of the situation said head coach Rick Neuheisel had interviewed Johnson and they had been talking."

If the Bruins do hire Johnson, it is unclear what that will mean for Chow. Foster wrote Thursday that contract negotiations may be holding up the process: "If Chow quits, he will not receive any money from his two-year contract extension. If he is fired, he will receive the full amount. If Chow is hired elsewhere, the amount of his new contract will be deducted from what UCLA owes him."

Chow's troubles at UCLA seem to stem from disagreements with Neuheisel.

Wrote ESPN.com blogger Ted Miller on Thursday morning, "So, if you are keeping score, the problems with Chow came to a head when Neuheisel wanted to change to a pistol offense this season. Now Neuheisel is dumping Chow and going with an NFL coach who isn't a pistol guy either. Moreover, Chow could end up at an incoming Pac-12 school [Utah] that presently has two offensive co-coordinators. Complicated!"

The Deseret News reported Wednesday that Chow was still employed by UCLA and expected to attend a recruiting meeting with other coaches Thursday morning.

If the rumors prove true, Chow would join a crowded offensive staff at Utah, where Dave Schramm and Aaron Roderick have been serving as co-offensive coordinators. Local radio host Jake Scott wrote that Chow might help to stabilize the Utes' offense before entering the Pac-12 next year: "There are some concerns that Roderick and Schramm will be in over their heads a little bit when the Utes make the move to the Pac-12; Chow obviously won't be overwhelmed by any situation."

Deseret News sports writer Brad Rock wrote Thursday that Chow's biggest effect on the Utes could be recruitment: "Now that the Utes are a Pac-12 team, going into recruiting season, the combination of Chow and their new conference affiliation should be a boost."

It may just be a matter of time before Chow returns to the Beehive State, where he coached under LaVell Edwards at BYU for 27 years before leaving for North Carolina State and then the Tennessee Titans of the NFL. Until the situation with UCLA is settled, however, Chow remains in limbo.

e-mail: lshumway@desnews.com

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