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

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  • Sambonethegreat Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 4:04 p.m.

    Whitt is definitely betting his job on Wyoming's leftovers.

    I think the Utes will have another losing season with that bear of a schedule, but the hard reset that will (likely) follow will benefit the program in the long run. Whitt hit his ceiling a long time ago.

  • AltaHawkFan Sandy, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 11:23 p.m.


    I don't think whit will have to worry about letting AR go at the end of the year. The whole staff will be looking for work.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Jan. 16, 2014 10:42 p.m.

    I just don't understand why they don't bring Wyoming into the big bad pac12 as an entire unit instead of doing it a little here and a little there and through another team (and a bottom dweller team at that)... Maybe there are some other coaches from the bottom half of the MWC that would also like to have an opportunity to make a few trips to the west coast next year... Have y'all checked out the staff at UNM? Or maybe Hawaii?... Oh wait, y'all had someone from there before didn't you?...

    If recruited coaches had Rival Rating stars, what do you think that the two WYO pick ups would be? Bet you Sarkesian is kicking himself over not getting those guys first... lol.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 16, 2014 7:32 p.m.


    I guess the civil and mature portion was too much.

  • Proud Ute ,
    Jan. 16, 2014 5:18 p.m.


    Layton, Utah

    Ok fine, I guess he's an outstanding coach against teams like BYU, Idaho, New Mexico, N Colorado, Air Force, and Hawaii whoa my bad, is that better?

    Fixed it for you.

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Jan. 16, 2014 2:12 p.m.

    Ok fine, I guess he's an outstanding coach against teams like Idaho, New Mexico, N Colorado, Air Force, and Hawaii whoa my bad, is that better?

  • Stringer Bell Henderson, NV
    Jan. 16, 2014 10:53 a.m.

    Re: Coug Fan in TX "I don't understand how any coach thinks their offense will improve changing out OC every year".

    Didn't BYU send Anae packing; hire Doman for one or two years; fire him and then hire Anae again? Many of the Utah changes were due to the offensive coordinators leaving to become head coaches. I don't believe that was part of the plan to improve the offense and I don't think that you do either. Where did Doman leave to become head coach?

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:05 p.m.

    I don't understand how any coach thinks their offense will improve changing out OC every year. Norm Chow was going to be the next big thing. Then Brian Johnson was young but would take U to the promised land. And how could U go wrong with Ericksen with his experience and NC belt?

    The truth is, the players need continuity. It's impossible to master complex schemes, plays and strategies to compete in a conference like the PAC in one year. I think the Utes would have had a more potent offense in 2014 if U would have stuck with Johnson for three years instead of playing musical chairs.

    And it's pretty obvious that Whit would have gotten rid of Ericksen all together if U could have afforded to buy out his contract.

    I do think Whit's a good coach, but I wouldn't be surprised to see 2014 as his last with the Utes. Which could open the door for him to come home to BYU in 2015.

    Jan. 15, 2014 7:42 p.m.

    pocyUte: "I think the worse thing a HC can do is ham string his coordinators by not letting them put coaches in place that they are comfortable with."

    I agree 100%! Running with that, if the WRs don't show big improvement this year, I hope Whit lets A Rod walk for good, whether he has BYU to run to or not, and lets Christensen bring in someone from his own network, as he did letting Finn go and bringing Harding in.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 4:50 p.m.


    While I agree that the results are Wyoming are less than stellar, nobody has succeeded at Wyoming.

    DC's results at Mizzou were quite impressive. Which one will win out, who knows?

    While I don't think this is a make or break year for Whit (I think that is next year if the Utes miss a bowl again this year), he is definitely basing his future on DC running the offense. I think the worse thing a HC can do is ham string his coordinators by not letting them put coaches in place that they are comfortable with. One thing Harding knows is DC's offense and how he wants the O-line to perform. And that is why I think this hire makes sense. Whether or not the O-line makes the improvements it needs to will depend on a combination of the talent and the coaching.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 4:21 p.m.


    If you want to say that the BS and USU d lines were better than the Wyoming O-line that's fine. But its a huge jump citing 2 games out of 50 saying that the guy can't coach.

    Now, if you would like to have a civil, mature discussion, I'm happy to oblige. But if all you want do is come on here to stir the pot and get in cyber arguments, then please don't. It doesn't add anything to board.

  • CougOrUte..Naah Nibley, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 4:19 p.m.

    @pocyUte...Your right I did base it on the two games which I watched Wyoming play. I agree that this is not a complete indicator of the coaches ability. However, based on those 2 games I would have to say he better be better than he showed. Particularly if Utah hopes to move up in the PAC 10+2. No one is knocking the Utes schedule....it is a bear. But this Wyoming pipeline is a interesting twist for a coach that is hoping for a better season. These two hires did not show PAC10+2 ability on the field with the results of their season last year. As the PAC10+2 is supposed to be a top tier conference, I would have thought the Utes would have went another direction....or not.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    Jan. 15, 2014 4:13 p.m.

    It's shocking there's been no mention of how off-the-chart successful Coach DC's performance was for years and years in the same, identical capacity while at Toledo/MIZZOU before going to Wyoming....Furthermore, he's coached the O-Line, himself, for the vast majority of his coaching career, dating all of the way back to the early '80s, in addition to playing on the OL for UW during his playing days....Not to mention, Wyoming played much of last season w/4 B.U. O-Linemen.

    Make no mistake about, our O-Line will succeed/not succeed entirely 100% on Coach DC, NOT on Coach JH....Coach DC's been hired to be our OC, NOT our HC!

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2014 2:05 p.m.

    Haven't we heard all year about just 2 of the games that mattered to the Utes this season? Based on 4 in a row blah blah blah, and Stanford blah blah blah we're better. Yet the Utes had the exact same record as last year and didn't go to a bowl game again! but somehow this year they are better? and are poised again to make a run at the Rose bowl and compete against anyone. So what's wrong with basing this new coaches skills on 2 games?

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:58 p.m.

    Great to see the mighty Pac tap into that powerhouse Wyoming pipeline LOL

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:23 p.m.


    based on 2 games. Really?!!!

    Thats just silly.

    I actually had good data to refute your statements, but then I just realized you were here to troll. Please go troll somewhere else. If you would like to add to the discussion, then by all means please post, but otherwise, please don't.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:58 p.m.

    Maybe Kyle Whit really trying to get fired, hmmm!

  • CougOrUte..Naah Nibley, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    Many commenters are correct in saying "No one knows for sure". But based on Wyoming's offensive line performance against USU and Boise State, I would say that there are indicators that this is a grasping for straws hire, much like the new OC. With the new OC and the other hires next year will be an interesting year for Coach Whittingham. It will be a miracle if he makes it through Christmas. Performing at their current level the Utes will be lucky to go 2-10, and 1-11 is a real possibility. They have a bear of a schedule, these coaches better bring something to the table to help them out, but as was said before, "No one knows for sure".

  • Me, Myself and I The Promised Land, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    None of us know if this will work out for the better or not, only time will tell. I'm just glad to see Utah address in my opinion their biggest weakness on the offensive side of the ball, the O-Line. Now I know a coach can't play the games, and this won't be a magic fix all, but its a start. after the 2010 season Utah has had an average at best O-Line who in my opinion played well below the level they were capable of as well. The results were injured QBs, an inconsistent running game and an overall low out put on offense. Maybe Harding will infuse a bit of nastiness an decent O-Line should play with and recruit solid talent as well. Remember I said nasty as in mean, physical and all out, but within the rules, not dirty. In Utah's two undefeated seasons the 0-Lines played this way. Hopefully they get back to that style of play under Coach Harding.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:35 a.m.

    Qwest Perfected said it best. (4:30 p.m. Jan. 14, 2014)

    And you know what, even Duckhunter's comment was pretty spot on - I know, crazy huh? But lets give credit where credit is due.

    Bottom line, this hire isn't necessarily a bad hire, but we certainly can't say Jim Harding has proven he's a good O-line coach ... just not enough to go on.

    All we Ute fans can do is hope it provides Dave Christensen with some continuity in regard to what he wants to accomplish on offense and communicate to players.

    Ready or not, this team needs to see more wins next year and will likely have to do it against the number one rated schedule in the country. Otherwise Whitt and our collection of offensive coordinators will probably be sent packing.

    It should be a talented team, so I'll certainly keep hope alive. Go Utes!

  • Christine B. Hedgefog Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    All these new coaches do realize it's a one year hitch right? Or did Whitt include in their contract that he'd take them with him next year when he becomes the defensive line coach at Washington State?

  • jdub1942 PROVO, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:00 a.m.


    Gary hasnt done too bad at LSU either.

  • 2020 Herriman, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    I can give everybody an example of a PAC 12 team taking a head coach from a bad MWC team to be their OC, and having a 10 win season. Oregon hired Gary Crowton.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    @Qwest Perfected

    As far as this hire goes, who knows if the guy is any better or not but any Utah fan who is happy about taking coaches from Wyoming need to think twice. The only thing good to come out of Wyoming is I-80.


    What about Dick Cheney! Oh wait, you said "good". My bad!

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    Personally, I think Harding has more credentials than Garett Tujague brought to BYU last year.

    But I guess, according to BYU fans, being a head coach at College of the Canyons for 5 years prepares you better for being an OL Coach than being an OL Coach at Wyoming for 5 years?

    How was BYU's OL this year anyway? From what I've been reading, all Hill needs is an OL that can protect the pocket in order for him to become the next Steve Young.

  • souptwins Lindon, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:34 a.m.

    From "My Perspective", you didn't explain why Utah would look backwards to a struggling and perennial bottom team from the MWC as a good place to find coaches to be successful in the PAC and help Utah climb up in their NEW conference. Are Ute fans still learning that one or two decent wins does not a season make?

  • AltaHawkFan Sandy, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 11:47 p.m.

    Coach harding will fit right in with the utes' coaching staff. He's been a 'co-something' coach virtually his whole career. Practically the whole ute offensive staff has been in that same position at utah.

    On the plus side, if DC goes down with an injury, kyle can always sub-in DE, BJ, or AR. The utes have stockpiled lots of depth at the OC position.

  • Elk Hair Caddis Sandy, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 10:33 p.m.

    Its all about the money. Utah does not have the money to attract coaching talent on the rise.

    The athletic department budgets at private schools USC and Stanford are triple Utah's. Oregon (also known as NIKE U) has an athletic department budget that dwarfs USC and Stanford. These three schools have won a share of or the outright conference championship in 18 of the last 20 years.

    Utah and its alumni base need to dig allot deeper into their pockets to find lasting success in the PAC. Buying PAC stickers is not going to get it done Utes.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 10:06 p.m.

    The hire is simple: Hail Mary. Who knows if it will work -- it might -- but it's about the last play Kyle has. He knows if the Mary offense doesn't work and the Utes are again bowless, he'll be looking for work.

    I still wonder if Dennis Erickson has any self-esteem left.

  • jdub1942 PROVO, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 8:17 p.m.

    This hire cant be any good because he coached at Wyoming.

    That's what I call advanced analysis (eye roll). Yet that's the only thing the haters can say. Either this is a good hire or a bad one, but none of us will know that for a long time, even duck knows that much.

  • The Moose Southern, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 5:16 p.m.

    Some of the commentators here and in the past point to desperation. I think to some degree that is fair. Utah fans expect success in the Pac-12. Utah's program expects success in the Pac-12. If not they would have stayed pat and went bowling every year with at least 9 wins against easier opponents. Time to step up. As mentioned earlier, Arizona had to do it. By the way, I think they will step up. Go Utes.

  • Qwest Perfected Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    In my opinion, these last recent coaching moves by Kyle wreak of desperation. I like Whitingham but I think his biggest problem is that he is way too loyal to his friends which all become his assistant coaches.

    I'm happy he got rid of Finn. The O-line has under performed for the last few years now and I think that has to do with coaching. As far as this hire goes, who knows if the guy is any better or not but any Utah fan who is happy about taking coaches from Wyoming need to think twice. The only thing good to come out of Wyoming is I-80.

    I figure this experiment will either work or it will perhaps be the end of Kyle's career at Utah. I hope it works but I think it will be a tough task. The Utes schedule will probably be even harder next year than it was this last year. One less home game and you swap Michigan on the road for byu.

    Time will tell.

    Go Utes!

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 14, 2014 2:34 p.m.


    first of all, let's lay off the name calling. It's Myperspective, not noperspective. Seriously, this isn't Jr. High.

    2nd, you're correct in terms of credentials. He doesn't have a lot that jumps off the page, but he probably has the 2 things that matter most, an understanding of DC's offense, and his trust.

    There have been a lot of coaches who have come out of nowhere to knock it out of the park. Urban and Chip Kelly come to mind first for me. Coach Tuiaki (Utah's D-line coach) was home run in his first year coaching D-line ever and only his 4th year coaching at all. He replaced coach a much more experienced Coach Chad, and got a lot more out the D-line. There have been others who have looked too raw when they got the call, I think BJ falls into that category.

    Ultimately time will tell. If he can get the O-line to do what DC wants, then thats all that matters.

    go Utes!!

  • MyPerspective Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 2:15 p.m.

    You are correct, Duck, I missed the modifier "graduate" assistant at Missouri in the write up. Harding must be very young. The question remains...is he "the best" person to shore up the offensive line at Utah, open holes for the run game, and most important...protect the quarterback? As you say, Duck, we'll find out soon enough but it's becoming increasing clear that both Christensen and Whittingham are betting their careers at Utah on the decision.

    As for the rest of your comment, I have to tell you Duck...I don't think it was necessary. But hey...it's a reflection of who you are.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 1:51 p.m.


    I actually agree with you and pocy on a couple of those points, in fact I made them a couple of days ago. No one knows if this guy will be any good or not, everyone starts someplace and very few start out at the top, they start low and work their way up.

    But I absolutely disagree with this comment,

    "Harding has impressive credentials"

    No he doesn't. He was a grad assistant at a middle tier school, he was a high school coach, then he was a coach at a bad wyoming program. None of those credentials is "impressive". That is the type of hyperbole that I enjoy pointing out with utah "fans".

    But of course none of us knows how he will perform, he might be really good, he might stink. We'll find out.

  • MyPerspective Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 1:37 p.m.

    "Where's all the talk about how the PAC12 is such a power house conference and no one from the MWC can even think about competing at that level? Is that still true?"

    Let's see, souptwins...Utah came from the lesser MWC and has improved but still struggles to compete in the elite Pac-12. In the interim, Utah has consistently owned byu, also from the MWC. You do the math and answer your own question.

    I agree with your assessment. This is a good indication (a data point) that Christensen truly owns the offense and I like that. I think this is the time an OC under Whittingham has had the green light to make his own hire. Definitely a step in the right direction. I'm not sure that bringing coaches from Wyoming is the silver bullet that Whittingham is looking for but Harding has impressive credentials (on paper anyway).

    I'm still hoping that Coach Whittingham will take a hard look at the receivers and db coaches.

    Jan. 14, 2014 1:33 p.m.

    @Gone Fishin, haven't a lot of really good coaches started out schools that weren't that great? Urban Meyer coached at Bowling Green! Plus Wyoming is in no position to ever be good at football. It's Wyoming! 472 ypg is pretty impressive for a team that probably has never had a 3 start recruit.

  • 2020 Herriman, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    There is no denying that Utah has not done well in the PAC 12. The record speaks for itself. However, it is still better than being in the MWC or independent. Arizona has never been to the Rose Bowl, but I guarantee that they don't wish they never left the WAC. It is still better to be in the PAC 12, it is still better to be a Ute than a Cougar (that has been proven on the field).

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 14, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    I think the hire is fine. Whit has brought in higher profile guys before and they didn't work out really well. I think this shows that Christensen is in complete control of the offense. Obviously this someone who Christensen is comfortable with, and knows the system inside and out.

    I have no clue when it comes to evaluating an O-line coach. If the O-line struggles is because of the technique and schemes or is it just a talent deficit. I don't know, but it certainly has to benefit having an Oline coach the OC is simpatico with.

    I'm excited to see what this offense looks like, and excited to see that there appears to be direction and the potential for stability in the program. Something that has obviously been lacking since Ludwig left.

    GO UTES !!!!

  • Fight On! St George, Utah
    Jan. 14, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    Utah is really establishing itself as the Wyoming of the PAC-12.

    You'll get the occasional upset and winning season, but your destined to be the whipping boy of more talented competition.

    Looking forward to another losing season for the frUtes and a beat down @ RES on Oct 25th.

    Fight On!

  • Gone fishin Seattle, WA
    Jan. 14, 2014 1:09 p.m.

    If utah is in such a mighty conference then why are they having to go to a losing team in lesser conference to recruit coaches? I thought that your conference membership would land you blue chip coaches. Maybe the rest of the football world sees things as they really are on the hill. Maybe you could send them your crimson colored glasses. You might also want to throw in a few PAC 12 stickers. I'm sure they are in great supply on the hill.

  • souptwins Lindon, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    Where's all the talk about how the PAC12 is such a power house conference and no one from the MWC can even think about competing at that level? Is that still true? Do you think promoting coaches from a "less than" conference who struggled to find success there will instantly be successful with a bit more talented players at Utah? That's a lot of faith and hope--- maybe Whitt should add some pixie dust, then he'll have it.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 12:35 p.m.

    Gone fishin,

    No, It's attempting to improve our standing in the PAC 12. If all we had to do is beat byu and USU, no changes would be needed.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 14, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    Yeah, that Wyoming o-line was nothing short of a steam roller. Seriously, I saw BSU run through that line like water through a sieve. Brett Smith ran for his life all day long.

  • Gone fishin Seattle, WA
    Jan. 14, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    It is a revolving door approach to coaching.