SALT LAKE CITY — Norm Chow is now the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, so now what?
That seems to be the question — from fans to media members to Utah football players. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham reached out to one of his old cohorts and one of the great offensive minds in college football to help revitalize his team's offensive philosophy and production.
And while we don't know exactly what he will do to change things on the Hill, this much we have come to know about Norm Chow.
For starters, Chow has groomed many quality quarterbacks, a list reading like a Who's Who of star signal-callers — McMahon, Young, Bosco, Detmer, Rivers, Palmer and Leinart. He's called plays for some of the best offenses in college football and he's been part of three national title teams. He's also a Utah Man, having played at the U. in the mid-'60s.
Now onto the question at hand and one that I've been asked dozens of times since Chow was hired over the weekend. What will the Utes look like on offense next year?
My response: I don't have a clue. But one thing does seem certain: It's going to be Norm Chow's offense to run.
You don't bring a coach with 38 years of experience and Chow's resume and ask him to change who he is. History tells us that Chow's offensive setups have almost always consisted of two backs, a tight end and three wide receivers. And while he's gained much of his acclaim through the air, he's always had great balance with the run game, too.
Do the Utes have the personnel right now to implement what Chow would like to do? Let's look at what's needed:
Quarterback: It's likely Jordan Wynn's job, assuming he comes back in a timely fashion from his offseason shoulder surgery. Other potential candidates if Wynn isn't healthy include Griff Robles and freshman Tyler Shreve.
Tailback: Juco standout John White and incoming freshman and four-star recruit Harvey Langi appear to be the leading candidates.
Fullback: The only true fullback on the Utah roster right now is Shawn Asiata, the converted JC linebacker. Fullback is a position that has been relatively nonexistent in the Utes' spread offense in recent years.
Tight end: This position has become a bigger area of emphasis for the Utes in the last year. Utah is actually quite deep here, with Dallin Rogers, Kendrick Moeai and Westlee Tonga.
Wide receivers: Devonte Christopher, Luke Matthews, Reggie Dunn and Fatu Moala all return with experience. Dexter Ransom, Mo Lee, Kenneth Scott are all potential playmakers.
There are certainly pieces in place right now for Chow. I am looking forward to seeing what the Utah offense will look like this year from a style/scheme standpoint. One thing is for certain: Utah will head into the Pac-12 with an offensive coordinator well-versed in what it takes to win conference championships.
I'm looking forward to Saturday's Utah basketball game for a couple of reasons. It should be a great game, with both Utah and Colorado State playing good basketball right now. Utah, having won its last three games, is playing its best basketball of the season. Plus, the 1960-61 Final Four squad will be honored at halftime on Saturday. Many members of Jack Gardner's team will be on hand to celebrate their run to the 1961 Final Four. Here's hoping for a great reception and crowd at the Jon M. Huntsman Center Saturday afternoon.
Bill Riley can be heard as the radio voice of the University of Utah on game days and also on weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on the "Bill and Spence Show" on ESPN 700 AM.
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