Andersen Will Coach Utah In Bowl Game
Dec. 6, 2008
LOGAN, Utah - New Utah State head football coach Gary Andersen will conclude his duties with Utah by coaching the Utes in their upcoming bowl game, but will only coach the defensive line instead of handling the defensive coordinator duties.
"The biggest thing is that it is a tremendous opportunity to coach in a bowl game," Andersen said. "I will only coach the defensive line, with my duties and commitments to Utah State, I will not have the time to dedicate to coordinating the defense. It will give Utah State some national publicity as well as allowing me the chance to coach a final game with the Utah players and finish what we've got going this season, so it is a win-win situation for both institutions."
Andersen spent the previous five seasons as defensive coordinator at Utah, where he has helped guide the Utes to a 12-0 record this season. Utah is currently ranked No. 6 in the latest Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings and is anticipated to receive a bid to a BCS bowl. Andersen has been a part of six bowl teams as Utah has a 7-0 bowl record since 1999, giving the Utes the nation's second-longest bowl winning streak behind Boston College's eight.
The Utes will find out who they are playing in their probable BCS bowl game when the bowl selections are announced Sunday evening.
"The opportunity to coach in a bowl game is a great opportunity for any football coach," Utah State Athletics Director Scott Barnes said. "This is a terrific chance for Gary Andersen to showcase his coaching talents on a national stage which will also give Utah State some national attention as well. We wish Coach Andersen and the Utes the best of luck in their bowl game."
Andersen is the architect behind Utah's vaunted defense this season, which has led the Utes to their second possible BCS bowl in five years after winning the 2004 Fiesta Bowl championship, capping another perfect 12-0 season and becoming the first non-BSC team to play in a BCS bowl game. This year, Utah ranks in the top 25 in the nation in seven defensive categories including 13th in scoring defense (13.2 points per game), 14th in rushing defense (104.8 yards per game) and 18th in total defense (295.9 ypg). The Utes' defense is also ranked 11th nationally in opponent third-down conversions (30.3 percent, 50-of-165), tied for 15th in turnover margin (+.92), and tied for 16th in opponent first downs (16.2 per game).
"After meeting with Gary, we are in agreement that he will coach in the bowl game. However, given the obligations in his new coaching position, he and I will share the game planning responsibilities," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement released by Utah.
The 44-year old Andersen replaces Brent Guy, who was fired after posting a 9-38 overall record and an 8-24 mark in Western Athletic Conference action in four seasons.
Andersen was recently named a finalist for the 2008 Broyles Award, honoring the top assistant coach in college football. The winner will be announced Tuesday, Dec. 9 in Little Rock, Ark. He was also tabbed as the No. 1 non-BCS recruiter by Rivals.com in 2005 and was named a Rivals.com top 10 non-BCS recruiter in 2008.
Andersen takes over a Utah State team that posted a 3-9 overall and 3-5 WAC record in 2008, marking the first time since 2005 that the Aggies had three wins in a season. USU also won three WAC games in a season for the first time in the Aggies' four years in the league. It is also the first time since 2003 that USU won three conference games and just the third time in the 2000's.