I think it's pretty well known that I was not an Andy Ludwig hater, nor did I think Ludwig was God's gift to offenses. I felt he was a decent OC who was prone to screwing it up every now and then. Even with the team battling injuries over the first three seasons, there was a sense the offense could not really get it going enough to be consistently good. This was evident in their final game of the regular season against BYU last year, where the team struggled running the ball and effectively developing their offense.
After the season ended, though, I did write an article suggesting Ludwig deserved a full season with a healthy team to prove his worth. That happened in 2008 and Utah went above and beyond where I think most fans had them prior to the season. Ludwig deserves credit for this, but it also shouldn't be suggested he was the lone reason for Utah's success.
The fact is, at times, the Utes struggled on offense and while we ignored those struggles because of Utah's success on the football field, without a few lucky breaks, we're looking at a 9-3 or 8-4 season, a far cry from where Utah is right now.
Of course, I don't want this to sound like I'm being bitter over Ludwig's leaving. I am not. The blame of Utah's struggles in the second half of the Michigan game, most of the Oregon State game and against TCU doesn't entirely fall on his shoulders. But it should also be noted that the two-minute offense ran in both games against the Beavers and Frogs were successful because both teams utilized the prevent defense, giving Brian Johnson ample time to find an open receiver.
However, this does not mask the underlying problems we've seen the past four seasons with Ludwig as the offensive coordinator. For starters, there were often inexcusable offensive performances occurring intermittently throughout Utah's seasons. This has been the big knock on Ludwig's offense because from week to week, they have lacked consistency. That was less of an issue this season, but as mentioned earlier, it did play a role.
The second biggest complaint with Ludwig has been the often predictable and mind-numbingly surpising play-calls. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but how else do you explain a screen pass used over and over again, then going with the double reverse on third and one? Yeah, exactly.
With that said, Ludwig was never a bad OC for Utah. Sure, Oregon fans have a true dislike of the guy, but I think he was competent enough to get to where we are today. I don't know what that means for Kansas State, but I do know that for Utah, while it's always tough losing a coordinator, it won't be too difficult to replace him, especially since Ludwig did nearly zero recruiting for Utah while he was here.
Hopefully the next coordinator won't be as divisive as Ludwig has been the past four seasons.