After a season of an up and down offense, Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham is making another move with the staff. Co-OC Aaron Roderick is not being retained (a nice way of saying being fired). A-Rod was also the QB coach and has been for the last couple of years. Also, Dennis Erickson is retiring from the sport. Erickson served as running backs coach and assistant head coach the last couple of seasons.
What does this mean? With A-Rod, it means Whitt wants to continue improving the passing game, as it stagnated heavily the last half of the season. It’s interesting because the other Co-OC, Jim Harding, who is also the o-line coach, is being retained, which is not a surprise because the line has been productive allowing for a strong run game. Does this mean Harding will be the full time OC? Or will Coach Whitt look to get a new OC to assume the role. Also, who will be QB coach? One complaint by many is that we haven’t seen enough progress made by the QBs under Roderick, and I tend to agree with that assessment. Utah has the too much talent at both the QB position and the wide outs for the pass game to struggle like it has, although it has improved this year, but the last half of the season just hurt.
Losing Erickson hurts, not only because his running backs have been so good since he’s been over them, but also his recruiting was awesome, especially in Florida. Here’s hoping the pipeline in the sunshine state remains. I’m guessing his retirement is independent of the A-Rod news, and he could have stayed on staff as long as he wanted.
Here's the full release for The U:
“SALT LAKE CITY—Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham announced today that assistant head coach Dennis Erickson is retiring and co-offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick will not be retained. Erickson, a legendary figure in football who won two national titles as the head coach at Miami (Fla.) and was the head coach at six colleges and for two NFL teams, retires after four seasons at Utah. Roderick spent 12 years at Utah as a member of Whittingham’s original staff in 2005.
Both Erickson and Roderick served in a variety of capacities with the Utes—Erickson as the co-offensive coordinator (2013), running backs coach (2013-16) and assistant head coach (2015-16); and Roderick as the receivers coach (2005-13), quarterbacks coach (2014-16), passing game coordinator (2012-13) and co-offensive coordinator (2010, 2015-16).
“Both Dennis and Aaron have been instrumental to the success of our program and we appreciate their contributions,” said Whittingham. “Dennis is one of the most respected coaches in the history of college football and the opportunity to work side by side with him and learn from him has been an invaluable experience. Aaron has been an incredibly loyal member of our staff for many years and has been an integral part of this program’s growth.”
Whittingham did not cite a timetable for replacing the two coaches.”