It's official, Gary Andersen will be named the head coach of the Utah State Aggies tomorrow at one. I wish him the best of luck in Logan and hope Whittingham can find a solid replacement for not only Andersen's coaching, but his strong in-state recruiting, as well.
It's a huge loss, but one I think most of us expected. I also trust Whittingham and believe he will bring in the most capable coach to lead Utah's defense in the coming years. But since we don't have an idea of who is likely to get the job, all we can do is speculate. And that is exactly what I want us to do.
Who do you think should replace Andersen as Utah's defensive coordinator?
Some names I'll throw around:
Steve Kaufusi: Currently the defensive line coach at, gulp, BYU, Kaufusi's name has been tossed around by a few locally. While he played at Brigham Young, he was also a graduate assistant for the Utes in 1994, the defensive line coach from 1995 to 1996 and from 1997 to 2001, coached the defensive ends. The biggest drawback, in my mind, is that BYU's d-line hasn't been all that spectacular. He does know the program, though and obviously has some strong ties to the state.
Aaron Alford: Currently the cornerbacks coach here at Utah, arrived in 2007. Prior to that, coached defensive backs at Akron, Wyoming, Western Illinois and Southern Utah. Alford is probably my favorite, because I think he's done a bang up job with the cornerbacks here since arriving in 2007. Though he isn't as deeply rooted within the state as Kaufusi, he's been here for two seasons and knows the program, especially its current state.
Kalani Sitake: Has been coaching at Utah since Kyle Whittingham took over in 2005. Currently the inside linebackers coach and prior to that, coached the offensive line, tight ends and running backs at Southern Utah. Graduated from BYU and worked as a graduate assistant for the Cougars during the 2002 season. Like Kaufusi, he has deep ties with not only the Ute program, but the state as a whole. He did play fullback for BYU, but we can't hold that against him, right?
Rocky Long: Former head coach of New Mexico, Long has said he would be open to being a defensive coordinator for another program. This would be a very high-profile hire, but seems pretty unlikely. Long would be a solid coach, but admits to not being a good recruiter and that is something Utah needs right now.
Morgan Scalley: Not going to happen, but I'll still mention him. He's a great Ute, loves the school and I could see him being Utah's defensive coordinator down the line. If the Utes weren't at the level they currently are, they could probably get away with this type of hire. But it's a risky one and for a program of this magnitude, it's probably not worth it.
That's my list for now. I'll put them in a poll, but if you have any suggestions, let me know!