Utah has named the replacement for Aaron Roderick at offensive coordinator with Troy Taylor, the former OC at Eastern Washington. This is a quick turn around for this hire, which leads me to believe coach Whitt had his eyes on this guy for a while, and says as much in the press release (below).
EWU has been one of the best FCS offenses for years and Taylor helped guide it this past season. One thing many Utah fans wanted was a “QB guru” and he may be it. He coached Washington’s Jake Browning in high school, and was a QB himself at Cal in the late 80s. He also had a cup of coffee in the NFL.
It’s also notable that Taylor will be the sole OC and QB coach, making Jim Harding just the offensive line coach, but Coach Whitt has also named Harding as the assistant head coach. Harding has been instrumental in building this offensive line and running game and it looks like Whitt wanted to show him that by giving him the assistant head coach title.
See more about Taylor below in the press release and let us know what you think about the hire.
SALT LAKE CITY—Troy Taylor, who directed the top passing offense in the NCAA FCS this season at Eastern Washington, has accepted a position at Utah as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham also announced today that offensive line coach Jim Harding will serve as the new assistant head coach after two seasons as the co-offensive coordinator.
Taylor comes to Utah after a highly-successful season as the co-offensive coordinator, play caller and quarterbacks coach at EWU. The Eagles, who averaged an FCS-best 401.0 passing yards per game in 2016, also ranked No. 2 nationally in total offense (529.6 ypg) and No. 3 in scoring offense (42.4 ppg). Eastern Washington finished 12-2, losing 40-38 in the FCS semifinals to Youngstown State.
“I have watched Troy Taylor closely over the years when he was coaching innovative high school offenses in California and was eager to see how that translated to college coaching. He achieved the same results at Eastern Washington and we are fortunate that Troy was interested in bringing that style of offense here to Utah,” said Whittingham. “Troy has trained a prolific number of record-setting quarterbacks in high school, at his academy and now in college.”
“I am thrilled to be a part of the University of Utah football program,” said Taylor. “I have admired Coach Whittingham and his program for a long time. The opportunity to come on board and help win a Pac-12 championship is a dream come true.
“We will have an attacking style of offense that stretches the field and the defense in every way,” Taylor continued. “Creating success for the quarterback will be our utmost priority. If your QB plays well, you have a great chance of winning. Therefore, the development of his fundamentals and skill set are vital. However, it is just as imperative to have an offensive system that is both dynamic and user friendly. That has been the driving force in my offensive philosophy and I am excited to bring this to the University of Utah.”
Under Taylor, Eastern Washington sophomore Gage Gubrud set an NCAA FCS single-season record by passing for 5,160 yards, while throwing 48 touchdown passes. Gabrud, the 2016 FCS Player of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, averaged 368.6 passing yards per game, which also led the nation.
Taylor’s instant success at Eastern Washington mirrored his lofty accomplishments as a high school coach and founder of The Passing Academy—a highly-regarded elite high school quarterback camp. His offense at Folsom High School in California set state records for passing in four straight seasons, as well as the record for most points scored in a season.
Among Taylor’s most notable high school success stories was 2016 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Jake Browning of Washington. Taylor coached Browning from the time he was in fifth grade until he graduated as one of the most prolific passers in prep history from Folsom High. Browning set national records for touchdowns in a season (91 in 2014, tied) and a career (229, in just three seasons). He set a number of California state high school records as well, including season (5,790) and career (16,775) passing yards.
Taylor, himself a former record-setting quarterback at Cal, played two seasons for the New York Jets as a fourth-round draft pick in 1990. His first coaching job was at Casa Roble High School in Sacramento, Calif., in 1994 and his first college coaching job was as a graduate assistant at Colorado in 1995. He then spent four years as a Cal assistant from 1996-1999, coaching the wide receivers (1996), quarterbacks (1997-98) and tight ends (1999). He was also Cal’s recruiting coordinator in 1999.
Taylor left Cal to become an assistant athletic director at Christian Brothers High School (2000-01) in Sacramento, where he also taught and was an assistant football coach for one season (2000). Before taking the post at Eastern Washington in 2016, Taylor spent seven years as a high school coach and teacher, including two stints (2002-04 and 2012-15) as the co-head coach at Folsom. Folsom went 58-3 from 2012-15, winning four Sac-Joaquin Section championships and the 2014 CIF State Division I title.
Taylor also served as the Cal football radio analyst from 2005-2011.
As a player, Taylor led the Pac-10 Conference in total offense in 1989 and finished his collegiate career as Cal’s all-time leading passer (8,126 yards) and total offense leader (8,236 yards)—records that stood for 26 years until they were broken by Jared Goff in 2015. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from in 1994 and a master’s degree in cross-cultural teaching from National University in Sacramento.