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How Andy Ludwig Will Find Success With Utes

Then-Wisconsin Badger offensive coordinator/QB coach Andy Ludwig in action prior to the Wisconsin Badger Spring Game, at Camp Randall Stadium, in Madison, WI on April 12, 2014. (Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah Utes hired Andy Ludwig as their offensive coordinator for the second time in his career. On Rivals Podcast, Scott Mitchell, former University of Utah and NFL quarterback, wondered how long Ludwig will stick around. 

Utes head coach, Kyle Whittingham has had issues finding a long-term offensive coordinator. Ludwig becomes the ninth different play caller in 11 years during Whittingham’s tenure.

Mitchell pointed out that Ludwig has arguably had the most success of any offensive coordinator under Whittingham, but that was when the Utes were in the Mountain West Conference.

Mitchell asked his co-host on Rivals, Jason Buck, former Brigham Young University and NFL defensive end, if Ludwig will finally be “the guy” for Utah.

Buck pointed out that when you think of Utah football over the last 10 years, you don’t think of the offense as a statement of what they are. 

“They haven’t found themselves yet,” said Buck.

Could Ludwig be the one to find them? He has the opportunity right in front of him.

“I think Kyle is going with a safe hire,” Buck said.

Utah History, Future With Andy Ludwig

Ludwig was the offensive coordinator for the Utes from 2005-2008. He left the Utes following their Sugar Bowl victory and went to the University of California.  

Scott Mitchell said his concern with the Ludwig hire is that no matter what, a transition will have to take place. The Utes have been working the same offense for two years now. Every year they have gotten better, so you can reasonably assume the third year would have brought similar improvements.  

Mitchell wondered if Ludwig will conform to the Utes’ system that is already in place or vise versa, but pointed out that either way a change will take place.

“How does Andy Ludwig get dialed into the Utah players and what they can do and what they can’t do? How (does he) build game plans for each player,” Mitchell wondered.

Mitchell predicted Ludwig won’t vary too much from what has already been happening with the Utah offense, which finished second in the Pac-12 last season.

The Utes are going to be a  good football team with the potential to have a special season, said Mitchell, but he is a little uneasy about the changes that will have to take place with a new coordinator.

“It makes me really nervous (for the Utes) with a new coordinator coming in,” said Mitchell.

Buck reminded Mitchell that Ludwig “has spring ball to get his act together.”

Return to Utah Creates Stability For Ludwig

The Ogden, Utah native brings a lot of experience as a play-caller before and after his first stint with the Utes from 2005-08. Before he was the offensive coordinator for the Utes his first time around, Ludwig spent eight seasons with three teams – including a year as a graduate assistant for Utah.

He was the offensive coordinator for Cal Poly in 1997 before going to Fresno State from 1998-2001 and Oregon from 2002-04.

Including his time after Utah, Ludwig has called plays on the for 8 different teams since 1993, and has coached at 12 total teams during his career. His longest stays have been for Utah from 2005 to 2008, and his recent time at Vanderbilt from 2015 to 2018.

Key To Utah’s Offensive Success

Mitchell and Buck both played in the NFL and pointed out that when you are an NFL veteran, changing coordinators isn’t such a big deal. It is, however, a much bigger deal for college athletes, because they don’t have the experience of other systems to draw from.

“As a coordinator or coach, it’s not what they can do or what you know, but it’s how you can communicate what you know into how they can do it,” Mitchell concluded.

You can hear Buck and Mitchell’s entire conversation here:

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