I think it's pretty clear where I stand on the whole Andy Ludwig situation. While I don't think he's done enough bad to be fired, I would not be opposed to him leaving the program for another gig. But I also know there are some out there who support Ludwig and believe he should be given another year to prove his worth. Since I want to cover all sides, I'm going to play a little Devil's advocate.
Utah's offense has struggled the past three years, but it also has seen near unheard of turnover. In three years, three different quarterbacks have started for Utah, one played the entire 2006 season. They lost a 1,000 yard rusher, had injured receivers and replaced key components of the offensive line, either because of graduation, or injury. And yet, Utah still managed to finish with a winning record in each of those seasons, while twice winning 8 games.
This year, however, has been far more taxing on the offense. The Utes lost an offensive lineman before a down was ever played, watched as their starting running back went down minutes into the season and then had to deal with losing their quarterback not even a quarter later. Even though Brian Johnson wasn't lost for the season, three of Utah's losses during their 1-3 start came with him playing either none of the game, or no more than a half. With Brian Johnson starting, Utah's gone 7-1. But beyond the Johnson injury, the Utes lost Brent Casteel, a receiver who the offense heavily relied on.
Even though Brian Johnson returned, it's clear he played every game less than 100% healthy. His distance on passes was far from decent and he was tentative when running with the ball. That undoubtedly handicapped the offense and is a possible explanation to the poor production in some games.
With all that offense returning next year and a healthy Brian Johnson, Ludwig will finally have the consistency he needs to put together an impressive and explosive offense. There really is no excuse for Utah to struggle next year on offense like they have this season. But the problems they have seen this year may just be a direct result of injury instead of coaching. If it is coaching, next year Utah blows a great opportunity to make noise nationally with all the talent they have returning.