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Utah football: Former Wyoming assistant Jim Harding hired as Utes' O-line coach

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 14 2014 11:15 a.m. MST

Utes Head Coach Kyle Whittingham speaks to the media in the Spence & Cleone Eccles Football Center on Tuesday, January 7, 2014.  (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utes Head Coach Kyle Whittingham speaks to the media in the Spence & Cleone Eccles Football Center on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Jim Harding has been hired as Utah’s new offensive line coach. Harding, who spent the past five seasons as an assistant on Dave Christensen’s staff at Wyoming, replaces Dan Finn in overseeing the position group. Finn was not retained after two years on the job.

“We’re excited to bring Jim Harding on board as our offensive line coach,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in a released statement. “Jim is a bright young coach with a solid background and an extensive knowledge of our offensive system.”

Harding reunites with Christensen, who was hired as Utah’s offensive coordinator in December. Last season in Laramie, the coaches helped the Cowboys finish 22nd in the country in total offense with 472.8 yards per game.

Utah's new Offensive Coordinator Dave Christensen speaks to the media in the Spence & Cleone Eccles Football Center on Tuesday, January 7, 2014.  (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah's new Offensive Coordinator Dave Christensen speaks to the media in the Spence & Cleone Eccles Football Center on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

During his coaching tenure at Wyoming, Harding served as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in 2013. He shared offensive line duties in his first four seasons and was the Cowboys’ run game coordinator in 2012.

Prior to a stint coaching high school football in Michigan (2005-08), Harding was a graduate assistant at Missouri from 2002-04 while Christensen served as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator. Before that, Harding played for Christensen at Toledo and was a four-year starter on the offensive line — setting a school-record with 46 consecutive starts for the Rockets.

After moving things around following a second consecutive 5-7 season, Whittingham’s offensive staff at Utah now features Christensen as the coordinator (and tight ends coach) with Dennis Erickson (running backs), Brian Johnson (quarterbacks), Aaron Roderick (passing game coordinator/wide receivers) and Harding as position coaches.

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