Raise your hand 10 years ago if you thought you’d see Andy Ludwig being welcomed back to Utah with open arms to be offensive coordinator. Now, don’t get me wrong, he didn’t leave on bad terms with the program or anything, but some Utah fans were ready to move on. That last season under Ludwig was Utah’s 13-0 Sugar Bowl team that beat up Alabama. The rap on Ludwig back then, during his initial tenure with Utah from 2005-08, was his play calling could be a bit erratic. He’d have a great game plan, and then throw in a real stinker of a play or quarter. It was almost like he was trying to outfox himself. To his credit, though, the offense was usually rather productive for long stretches, when a QB was healthy at least. In 2005, his first season, Brian Johnson was 4th in the country in total yardage, and the Utes led the MWC in total offense (473.0 yards per game) and pass efficiency offense, ranking 12th and 10th respectively nationally. Ludwig then coached up Brett Ratliff to have a legendary performance against BYU in the season finale after BJ went down. Ratliff also went on to have a nice senior season in 2006 under Ludwig, who was also the QB coach. In 2005 and 2006, Utah finished second in the league in passing offense and finished 12th in the nation in 2005. The 2007 season, everyone was hurt for Utah, but the Utes were second in the league in rushing offense. In 2008 Ludwig was a finalist for FootballScoop Offensive Coordinator of the Year after Utah led the Mountain West and ranked 15th nationally in scoring, averaging 36.9 points per game. Some of Utah’s best offensive teams under Coach Whitt were under Ludwig.
Per the press release from Utah, Coach Whittingham said “It’s great to have Andy back on our staff,” said Whittingham. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a collegiate offensive coordinator, as well as being an outstanding quarterbacks coach and recruiter. Andy is obviously very familiar with our program which should make for a seamless transition.”
“My family and I are very excited to return to the University of Utah,” said Ludwig. “I have great respect and appreciation for the University’s commitment to the student-athletes, Coach Whittingham’s leadership, and the passion of the Ute fan base. I look forward to the hard work and am grateful for this opportunity.”
Since leaving Utah, Ludwig has had stops at Fresno, Cal, Wisconsin (under Gary Andersen) and Vanderbilt (his most recent stop).
Per the release, Ludwig has had some balanced offenses, with very productive running backs. He has coached a 1,000-yard rusher 15 times in his FBS coaching career, including Utah’s Quinton Ganther (1,120 in 2005) and Darrell Mack (1,204 in 2007). He coached a pair of 1,000-yard rushers at Wisconsin in 2013 in Gordon (1,609) and James White (1,444). His latest 1,000-yard rusher was this season at Vanderbilt (Ke’Shawn Vaughn, 1,244 yards). Ralph Webb finished his Vandy career in 2017 as the school’s all-time career leader in rushing yards (4,173) and rushing touchdowns (32). The bodes well for one Zack Moss in 2019.
Here are my thoughts on Ludwig: he will help Utah be productive on offense. No, he isn’t the flashy name a lot of fans were wanting, but I think he’s a good hire, and possibly the coordinator that Utah needs right now to take that final step. I mean, wouldn’t it be poetic if his last season at Utah was Sugar, and his first one back are Roses? Utah will put up some yards, they did under him before, the question will be red zone efficiency. And with a returning QB and Zack Moss, I’m not too concerned about that either. Frankly, this is a very good offense he has at his disposal, he just needs to point it in the right direction... and avoid some really silly play calls.
Let us know your thought ons Ludwig coming back.
More of the official release here: