Utah hires Dave Christensen as offensive coordinator, rearranges coaching staff

Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The Utes are hoping to improve on their meager 2013 offensive numbers.

In an effort to put a spark in their attack, the Utah Utes hired Dave Christensen to take over offensive coordinator duties, the school announced Friday. Christensen replaces Dennis Erickson and Brian Johnson, who served as co-offensive coordinators this season:

Christensen spent the last five years as head coach at Wyoming, before the Cowboys fired him at the conclusion of a 5-7 2013 season. During his tenure with Wyoming, he compiled a 27-35 overall record and led his team to two New Mexico Bowl appearances. Christensen was named Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2011 after guiding the Cowboys to an 8-5 campaign. Before taking over in Laramie in 2008, he spent 16 years as offensive coordinator at Toledo and Missouri.

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"As one of the pioneers of the spread offense, Dave Christensen is an innovative coach and was the architect of one of the top offenses in the country during his time at Missouri," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a prepared statement. "We feel fortunate he was available and interested in joining our program, and he will be a great fit with our staff. We want an explosive offense and that's been a trademark of Dave's throughout his career as an offensive coordinator."

Whittingham did not fire Erickson and Johnson, but instead reassigned them to focus on coaching running backs and quarterbacks, respectively. The 2014 season will be Erickson's second year in charge of Utah's running backs, and the fifth for Johnson mentoring the Utes' signal-callers.

Utah finished a disappointing 5-7 this year, and the offense was mostly to blame. The Utes averaged 29.2 points per game, good for ninth in the Pac-12, and their 397.0 yards per contest ranked 10th in the conference.

"I am thrilled at the opportunity to work with Kyle again," Christensen said in the statement. "We were assistants together many years ago at Idaho State and I have great respect for him and what he has accomplished since then. I am also excited to be back coaching at the BCS level and at the University of Utah in particular, where I think there is a great opportunity for success. I have experience in the Pac-12 as a player and a coach at Washington and it is exciting to be back in one of the premier conferences in the country."

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