Utes Practice Report 12/17

The Utes made their assistant coaches available to the media for the final time before they travel to San Diego to take on Northwestern in the Holiday bowl.

One notable name was missing, as offensive coordinator Troy Taylor was in Sacramento accepting his new position as Head Coach of the Sacramento State Hornets. The Utes now must find a replacement for Taylor, who had found success with the Utes offense over the last nine weeks of the season.

Kyle Whittingham and quarterback Jason Shelley both said they hope to have Taylor back for the bowl game calling plays, which should ease the transitions for Utah’s next OC.

Whittingham said for the time being, Jim Harding will be the interim offensive coordinator, which will be an expansive search. I wouldn’t rule out Harding having the interim tag removed from his title, and assuming the position full time.

Whittingham said he doesn’t believe Taylor’s departure will impact the Utes signing class which will start to fill out on Wednesday’s National Letter of Intent day. Retaining Harding as the full time OC could help keep continuity at the position.

Additionally, Whittingham said the Utes “have a line on several (QB’s) that are still available” in the recruiting process, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Utes wait until the later signing period, which is February 6th of 2019.

Finally, Whittingham said he doesn’t anticipate any of Utah’s full time staff to follow Taylor to Sacramento State, as they are financially limited compared to the Utes. Don’t be surprised if most, if not all of Utah’s position coaches out-earn Taylor next year, even as a head coach.

On the field, it doesn’t appear Tyler Huntley is fully clear for contact. The Utes are still hoping to get him back ahead of the Holiday Bowl, and will be reevaluated again shortly.

Chase Hansen wasn’t at practice, but the Whittingham said the Utes will play him regardless of whether he practices before the bowl game, as long as he’s healthy by game time.

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