Utah coach Kyle Whittingham readily admits that replacing staff is one of the least favorite parts of his job. On Tuesday, he completed the task by hiring his third new assistant since the Utes' Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama on Jan. 2.
J.D. Williams, a longtime Pac-10 assistant, is the latest addition to the coaching staff. The 42-year-old will oversee Utah's cornerbacks. He joins the Utes after stints at California and Washington.
"We think it's a great fit for our staff," Whittingham said. "We were looking to find the best coach available, not necessarily locked into any one position. We have a little bit of flexibility on the staff."
Whittingham proved it by shuffling things around a little bit.
Aaron Alford, who coached the cornerbacks the past two seasons, is moving over to the offense and will now coach the running backs.
"We expect that to be a smooth transition," said Whittingham, who noted that Alford's brother, Tony, holds a similar position with Notre Dame.
Alford replaces offensive coordinator Dave Schramm as the running backs coach. Schramm, who was promoted when Andy Ludwig left for Kansas State, will also coach the quarterbacks.
In another move, Whittingham announced that safeties coach Morgan Scalley will replace Schramm as the program's recruiting coordinator. Whittingham said Scalley's "energy and passion for recruiting" made him a "natural" for the job.
Utah's coaching staff is now complete after losing Ludwig and offensive line coach Charlie Dickey to Kansas State, and defensive coordinator Gary Andersen to Utah State.
Linebackers coach Kalani Sitake steps in Andersen's role, while longtime NFL assistant John Pease was hired to coach the defensive line. Blake Miller was tabbed to direct the offensive line.
Williams, the other new hire, was a first-round NFL draft pick (16th overall) out of Fresno State in 1990. He played in four Super Bowls for the Buffalo Bills and also spent time with the Cardinals and 49ers before retiring in 1996. Before going on to coach in the Pac-10, Williams oversaw secondaries at his alma mater Fresno State, San Jose State and Cal Poly.
"We're pleased to announce the addition of J.D. Williams to our coaching staff. We took our time with this hire, and after a national search, we feel that we came away with the right fit for our program," Whittingham said in announcing the hiring of Williams. "J.D. will coach our cornerbacks, and he brings with him a strong coaching resume and NFL background."
The hiring comes exactly two weeks before Utah opens spring ball.
Whittingham said the Utes are ready to go.
"Things have been moving along," he noted. "The new hires just have to catch up."
E-MAIL: [email protected]