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SALT LAKE CITY -- Newly hired offensive coordinator Norm Chow and offensive line coach Tim Davis have big plans for the Utah Utes as they make their transition into the Pac-12. The new challenge poses a big test for the Utes, but Davis and Chow are certain that the Utes have what it takes to be competitive.
Chow, a familiar face in Utah, is considered by many to be one of the top offensive coordinators in the nation, making his tenure at USC and UCLA a valuable source of knowledge to tap into as the Utes enter the Pac-12. Davis, too, adds experience to the Utah coaching staff, following his work with Chow at USC.
Coach Kyle Whittingham and the Utes have fared well against Pac-10 teams but not quite on the level of playing them on a weekly basis.
"Instead of one of those signature games every three weeks," Davis said, "it's going to be every week. So we've got to be ready. The preparation will stay the same. I think the idea will stay the same, but we've got to know that every week is going to be different because it's the Pac-12."
The spread is a good offense, but if you want to go to the next level, you've got to change.
"We're going to be right in there," Chow said. "It's just that the bar has been raised a little bit."
With the addition of Chow and Davis, there is cause to believe that Utah will abandon the spread offense, particularly because of Utah's lack of depth on the roster.
"Kyle wants a little bit more of a downhill run game," Chow said. "A little bit more in the center. We're going to find out who our play-makers are. Hopefully we'll get the ball in their hands. If we're not a good spread team, we won't run the spread. If we're a good spread team then we'll run the spread.
"We'll hash out all the good things that [the Utes] did and try to incorporate some of the things that Kyle wants to get done."
"The spread is a good offense," Davis commented, "but if you want to go to the next level, you've got to change."
One of the biggest challenges facing the Utes is their lack of depth in the running back position.
"That's where there is a question," Chow said. "We're going to go in with a couple of unproven guys. That's an area of concern because you can't get through the league with one or two guys; you're going to have to have some depth."
Spring training will be a major test for the team as they try to figure out what type of offensive system works the best to make the transition to another league. Figuring out their system will not get any easier with starting quarterback Jordan Wynn out for spring training.
"Obviously Jordan is not going to go through spring and that's going to slow our progress down a bit," Chow said, "but it is what it is and we're just going to have to do it."
Although Wynn will be out recovering from shoulder surgery, Chow has a lot of faith in Wynn's abilities as Utah's quarterback.
"Good quarterbacks have, I call it the ‘it' factor that you don't really get to coach," Chow said. "Watching tape, he has it. Whatever that is, he has it, but we won't get to see it because he won't go through spring."
To watch their interviews, click on the play button above.