I’m giddy. I was on break at work today and decided to listen to some of the “Bill and Spence Show” on the local AM radio station ESPN700. They were discussing Norm Chow leaving UCLA. They were making points for and against the likelihood of Utah picking up Norm Chow.
Since then, there have been numerous articles out talking about the Utes and Norm Chow dealings. I am a huge believer in nothing being official until it’s official, and so far there hasn’t been word from the University of Utah as to the confirmation or denial of these claims.
That being said, I will not make this article a “Welcome back to ‘Ute Nation’ Norm” article, but rather a “What the hiring of Norm Chow would do for this program” article.
First off, let’s start with the #1 thing Norm Chow would do for the program: Provide PAC-10 insight.
Hands down, this would launch the Utes miles ahead of where they are now in preparation for the PAC-12 transition. Would Utah otherwise be capable of beating the teams in the PAC-12 next season without Norm? I think capable, yes. But let’s remember, Norm Chow has been in the PAC-10 with USC and UCLA combined for the good part of the last decade. He knows what those PAC-12 teams are bringing to the table. He knows the other coaches’ tendencies. He knows their schemes. That knowledge alone is priceless!!! (Not to mention both USC and UCLA are in the future PAC-12 South Division with Utah next year).
Secondly, Chow brings experience.
Norm Chow is no stranger to “Ute Nation”. He played football at the U from 1965-1967. Chow coached under LaVell Edwards as offensive coordinator from ’73-’99, winning a national championship in 1984 and coaching Heisman trophy winner Ty Detmer in the process. He also has 2 more national championships at USC in ’04 and ’05 along with 2 additional Heisman winning quarterbacks in Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
The most encouraging aspect, I think, is that the Utah offense will finally get feet back under them. I think the spread has run it’s course in Utah and I would welcome the transition over to a pro-style. Jordan Wynn definitely has the arm to make the throws.
This season was a let down. No disrespect to anyone in the Utes’ system, as I understand how much work goes in day in and day out and how tight-knit the team is. I’m all for that. BUT, starting out the way the Utes did through the first 8 games (8-0), and then capping off the season with 3 blowout losses in 3 big games, losing the Las Vegas Bowl in blowout fashion to out-of-conference rival Boise State, which ended the Utes’ 9 game bowl win streak they had carried since 1997, I’d say it’s safe to call that disappointing.
Fingers can be pointed anywhere if you look hard enough, but most of the fingers point to the offense in those 3 particular games. against TCU: 7 points from Utah. Against Notre Dame: 3, against Boise: 3. The common denominator in the losses was struggles in offensive production and an absolute lack of any attempt at strategy, adjustment, or solutions from the Utah offensive coordinators. I would bet my life in most situations that when Utah is struggling, they are going to run a combination of 3 plays in no particular order; 1. The screen pass (most often with reception 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage), 2. a counter draw play (very often on second and long due to a -3 yard screen pass from 1st down), and 3. A button hook pattern or short slant route on 3rd and 8 to 3rd and long (ball being caught 2-3 yards in front of the 1st down marker).
Obviously that is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one, sadly.
Lastly, the recruiting on offense just skyrocketed. Utah is going to attract the future great PAC-12 quarterbacks with the history Norm Chow has with quarterbacks. 3 Heisman winners under his tutelage.
“You ever heard of Jim McMahon kid? Steve Young? Carson Palmer? Matt Leinart? Well, they all played for me and I want you to play for me. Whad’ya say kid?” Case closed. Another huge boost to recruiting for Utah.
If the the addition of Norm Chow becomes a reality, we can gain conference insight, experience, and replace our offensive stagnancy with fluidity, I’m hoping. Tomorrow is a big day. Listen in to ESPN700 AM at 2pm-6pm weekdays for Ute talk and news from the best. Bill and Spence.