Thanks to Lya Wodraska, Utah beat writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, for passing along this story about Andy Ludwig before last year’s spring practice:
By Lya Wodraska
Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig acknowledges the Utes’
offense, which struggled in the passing game in 2007, is under
pressure to perform better in 2008. And that is about all he’ll fess
Ludwig, in his fourth year as Utah’s offensive coordinator, guards
himself about as tightly as his playbook. His office has the usual
sports paraphernalia of footballs, helmets and other game mementos
coaches like to stash on shelves. Pictures of his family are
prominent too, as is the air mattress that fills up one corner of his
office. It gives him a little comfort on the nights he doesn’t make
it home and crashes in his office.
He peppers his talk with quotes from generals and other prominent
leaders and has a few war heros’ sayings in his office, a glimpse
that there is more to Ludwig than football, not that he’ll admit to
“I’m a private guy, there are some professionals who want to be out
in front, in the limelight, but I’m not that guy,” he said. “I just
want to work with players and put a good product out on the field on
Ute fans would probably be content with that as well, forget what
hobbies the guy has as long as Utah’s offense improves upon its
performance in 2007.
The negatives of Utah’s offense were plenty, starting with the major
injuries to Brian Johnson, Matt Asiata and Brent Casteel. A
disappointing showing by Utah’s receivers didn’t help things either.
Utah, which ranked third in the Mountain West averaging 368.4 yards
in total offense in 2006, slipped to seventh in 2007, although its
average was about the same, 369.62 yards.
Fixing Utah’s offensive issues is one of the main goals as spring
practice resumes this week, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
“We need to improve on offense from last year, everyone understands
that,” he said. “But we lost our share of keys guys too. I’m not
making excuses, but it does have an impact.”
High on Ludwig’s must-do list is getting back to the spread offense.
Johnson’s shoulder injury forced Ludwig to go away from that desired
scheme, first with Tommy Grady as the replacement then by the
limitations Johnson’s injury created.
Adding more complications was the knee injury to returning tight end
Colt Sampson, leading the Utes to demand a lot of freshman Dallin
“That was the one piece of the puzzle not many people got last
year,” Ludwig said. “To accommodate Tommy’s style, being under
center, it required a second tight end and that tight end was Dallin
Rogers and he wasn’t ready. It was challenging. That was what people
didn’t fully appreciate.”
Now, with everyone expected to be healthy, Ludwig hopes to get back
to utilize Johnson’s running more, and continue the development of
Corbin Louks who often replaced Johnson in run situations.
“Running the quarterback is a huge part of it, but with Brian, it
was a question of how many times do you want him to get hit with that
shoulder?,” Ludwig said. “The thought process was we were going to be
80 percent spread and 20 other and it flipped and that flip doesnt
happen over night. That is the big thing for us, to get back to the
Developing the receivers is critical, especially with Marquis Wilson
indefinitely suspended. However, Ludwig believes signees Dudley
LaPorte, Aiona Key and David Reed will make an immediate impact in
The battle to replace Kyle Gunther at center, expected to be
between Zane Taylor and Tyler Williams is another one Ludwig will
The running game is solid, with Darrell Mack emerging as a capable
runner in Asiata’s absence. Having both available makes the position
one of the least worrisome.
“Overall I feel good about the returners we have coming back,” he
said. “We need to develop the depth and just compete and improve at
every position. Going into spring, nobody is resting on their
That goes for Ludwig too. True to his nature he won’t address what
pressure he feels as spring ball heats up, but admits he knows
improvements are expected.
“You want to be great, but we did what we had to do,” he said.
“Obviously we could have been much more productive, but we weren’t.”