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Utah football: Dave Christensen talks about becoming the Utes' new offensive coordinator

Published: Saturday, Dec. 21 2013 5:15 p.m. MST

Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen follows the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska, in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Nati Harnik, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen follows the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska, in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Nati Harnik, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Deseret News sportswriter Dirk Facer recently spoke with Dave Christensen about his new job as Utah’s offensive coordinator. Christensen joins the Utes after spending the past five seasons as head coach at Wyoming. Before his tenure with the Cowboys, he was the offensive coordinator at Missouri and Toledo.

Q: What did you think about Utah’s move from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12 in 2011?

A: “I thought at the time when they did it, it was a great move because I knew they were heads and tails above where we were at that time at Wyoming and that we weren’t ever going to catch them from a commitment level. ... It was a huge jump and so it’s going to take some time, as I think TCU is finding in jumping from that league to the Big 12, it takes a little bit of time. I certainly think they’re closing in from a personnel standpoint and competing. So it’s exciting to be a part of it and hopefully I can provide some things offensively to help them continue to climb in the Pac-12.”

Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen follows his team in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Nati Harnik, AP) Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen follows his team in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Nati Harnik, AP)

Q: Any reservations about being an assistant coach again after five years as a head coach?

A: “Absolutely none. It was a great opportunity to be a head coach. We did some really good things. We took Wyoming to two bowl games and then beat our rival four out of five years, so I think we’re able to get some things done there. But my biggest thing is I’m a competitor and I loved coaching at Missouri because I was coaching the highest-level players in college football and I wanted the opportunity to do that again. Now I have that opportunity.”

Q: What do you know about Utah’s current personnel?

A: “I’ll get started the next couple of weeks studying the personnel. I know they’ve got a number of players, excellent players, on their football team. I just don't know a lot about them yet until I can watch the video and study them, watch them in workouts and get to know the kids. But I certainly know that they have capable players. They proved when they played both teams in the Pac-12 championship game this year — in beating Stanford and playing extremely close versus ASU — that they have players that are very capable.”

Q: Do you anticipate running a spread offense, or will the scheme be more catered to personnel?

A: “We’ll run a spread offense but we’ll run an up-tempo spread offense where exactly what we’ll do will be based upon what our strengths are from a personnel standpoint. So until I get a chance to get in and study the personnel and see where we’re at, you know, we won’t make all of my own decisions on what we’re going to do. We will be a spread, up-tempo offense.”

Q: What are your thoughts on heading an offense with three coaches (Aaron Roderick, Brian Johnson and Dennis Erickson) who have held the title of coordinator for the Utes?

A: “I think it’s fine. I have no problems with it at all. They’ve got great knowledge. They’re good football coaches. But I’ll lead the charge, the direction that we’re going to go. ... We’re all striving for the exact same goal and that’s to be successful on offense.”

BONUS QUESTION

Q: Did you ever think you would cross paths with the Utes again once they left for the Pac-12?

A: “I was hoping I would. I didn’t know at that time certainly that I’d have an opportunity to coach with them. But I was hoping that someday I would have an opportunity to coach in that league.”

Email: dirk@desnews.com Twitter: @DirkFacer

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