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Utah Foobtall: Looking back at Aaron Roderick's first stint as OC

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Aaron Roderick's first stint as the Utes offensive Coordinator was a mixed bag.

Kyle Whittingham is confident Aaron Roderick has what it takes to run the Utah offense.
Kyle Whittingham is confident Aaron Roderick has what it takes to run the Utah offense.
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Roderick has been here before. The new co-offensive coordinator for the Utes is actually not new at all. You all probably remember Roderick and our old friend, Fresno State offensive coordinator Dave Schramm, held the co-offensive coordinator positions way back in 2010. That year was a tale of two seasons for the offense, as they set off at a blistering pace before hitting the proverbial wall... ahem TCU... in November. To get an idea of what lies ahead for the offense this upcoming season, let's take a closer look at the 2010 offense.

The 2010 Utes started out well, amazing in fact, as the offense put up obscene numbers to start the season. The Utes averaged 41.75 points per game through their first 8 games, in which the team went 8-0. Jordan Wynn was settling nicely into his first full season as a starter and Eddie Wide III and Matt Asiata were a two headed monster out of the backfield. The offense was balanced and dynamic through those first eight games of the season.

2010 Utah Offense Through First 8 Games.

Passing

Touchdowns Completion % Yards per Game
20 71% 258

Rushing

Touchdowns Yards per Carry Yards per Game
23 5.36 191.5

The season started off with a decent showing against Pittsburgh who was ranked #15 at the time. Jordan Wynn completed over 50% of his passes, threw for over 200 yards and tossed 3 touchdowns against only 1 interception. On the ground, the team rushed for 122 yards and the offense managed to put up 27 points, the last 3 coming in overtime. The offense looked balanced and at times potent.

Over the next seven games, the offense looked unstoppable scoring over 50 points four times, including hanging 68 points on Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. During those first eight games under Roderick, the offense was a machine, they played fast and loose and everything seemed to work. There didn't seem to be a weakness as quarterback play was excellent with both Jordan Wynn and Terrance Cain (who stepped in against New Mexico and UNLV), as the two combined to throw 20 touchdowns against 6 interceptions and threw for over 2,000 yards in just over half a season. The balance on the offense was apparent as well, with the ground game rushing for 23 touchdowns and rolling up over 1,500 rushing yards through the first eight games. Things were looking great for the Utes offense and Roderick was pulling the strings.

On November 6th, 2010, everything came to a screeching halt on national television. In a day that will live in infamy for many Ute fans, the Utah offense (and defense for that matter) went dormant against TCU. Roderick's offense only managed seven points and 199 yards of total offense. The previous low that season had been 327 yards the week prior against Air Force. Other than a brief respite against San Diego State's soft defense, the Utes offense struggled the rest of the way that season, failing to score touchdowns against both Notre Dame and Boise State.

The wheels came off starting with the TCU game and the Utes were never able to get back on track, averaging only 13.6 points per game the remaining 5 games of the season.

2010 Utah Offense Through Final Five Games

Passing

Touchdowns Completion % Yards per Game
4 49.9%

200.8

Rushing

Touchdowns Yards per Carry Yards per Game
4 3.25 91.2

The swoon to end the season resulted in Utah finishing the season with fairly modest offensive numbers. They finished 2010 ranked 23rd in nation in scoring offense, averaging 33.1 points per game, 47th passing offense 236.1 yds per game, and 62nd in nation in rushing offense with 152.92 yards per game.

A-Rod's offense did well against lower tier teams and Mountain West competition. In fact, it would be difficult to imagine a team faring better than the 2010 Utes did against their conference opponents, excluding TCU. Where Roderick's offense struggled was against good teams like TCU and Boise State and non-conference opponents such as Notre Dame.

The argument that the late season struggles were just due to facing better competition is a valid one. There is no doubt, the stiffer competition exposed a possible talent disparity. What stands out in those games, however, is the lack of adjustments made. Against TCU, Notre Dame and Boise State the offense that came out in the second half was very similar to the offense that had not been working in the first half. Even with the team playing from behind, it appeared Roderick would stick with his original game plan instead of trying something different.

A key to Roderick succeeding in his second tenure as offensive coordinator, will be his ability to make in-game adjustments to his game plan. His first tenure proved he has the ability to put together a great game plan against lower competition. How he adjusts his game plans against more talented opponents will be something to watch. The Pac-12 is a different beast than the Mountain West as we have all have humbly come to realize. Roderick's stint this time around will be a different ball game. He has the tools to succeed with a couple veteran quarterbacks and a dark horse Heisman candidate in Devontae Booker. It will be interesting to see if Roderick can deliver. The Utes success hinges on it.