clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

5 Questions With U. of U. assistant football coach Dennis Erickson

Dennis Erickson, the Utes' new football co-offensive coordinator, says the players are what he's cherished most in his lengthy career.
Dennis Erickson, the Utes' new football co-offensive coordinator, says the players are what he's cherished most in his lengthy career.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Q: How did your first spring with the Utes go?

A: It's been great in a lot of ways. The football part has been awesome; being around the players and coaches has really been fun, and that's the most important thing. And you can't beat the blue skies.

Q: Is it fun approaching the Pac-12 from a different angle, with a former Mountain West Conference program making the transition?

A: Yeah. It's different but it's fun. Hopefully my experience that I've had in that league over the years will help. But it's different. It's different when you approach it from just one side of the football and you're just approaching it from the offensive side and you're not the head coach. ... It's different but I've really enjoyed it because that's what I did when I started — was coach offense — and that's what I'm doing now. So it's kind of like I've been around in a circle, a long circle.

Q: Although you won two national championships at Miami, you're very much a Western guy, aren't you?

A: I am. I'm born and raised in Everett, Wash., and went to school in Montana and Idaho and all that stuff. But I spent six years in Miami, which was really a great six years being around that program and around those players. But I'm from the West and that's where I always will end up. So I'm happy to be here, without question."

Q: What do you know about Kyle Whittingham and Brian Johnson now that you didn't know before joining the staff at Utah?

A: You really don't know about anybody that you coach against unless you know them. Now I've coached against guys that have coached for me and you have a pretty good idea what they're like and what they do and so forth. But I didn't know Brian and I knew Kyle a little bit from head coaches' meetings. I always had respect for him and what they've done at this program. What I know now is that they're just loyal people; they want to win at the University of Utah; they're outstanding football coaches; and Kyle has proven it here many, many times. Brian is just a bright football coach that's got a tremendous future. He's a lot like he was when he was a player here. It's been fun for me to able to work with him and the other offensive coaches. But they're both winners. That's what I know for sure.

Q: What do you cherish most about your career?? is it the national championships?

A: The players. The players that I've been able to coach, the coaches that I've been around — that's what it's been about for me. Obviously the wins and winning national championships are very, very hard to accomplish and we were able to do that twice in my career, and to go to different programs and help them get turned around and build things, but when it's all said and done, it's about the players — it's about the camaraderie and the people that you meet. That's what coaching is all about.